Department of   Neurophysiology,

Copenhagen University

1971-1973

 

During 1971-1973, I conducted experiments on rat frontal cortex and neostriatum under the supervision of Ivan Divac.

Ivan died on February 25, 1999

Ivan's lab, 1971-1973

Ivan supervising the cutting of frozen brain sections

Shortly after his arrival in Copenhagen in 1970, Ivan posted a note in the Department of Psychology: Seminar on the Frontal Lobes. Once a week for the following semester, Ivan and a small band of young researchers and students shaed what little was known of the functions of the frontal lobe. Leonard had described the prefrontal cortex in the rat based on its thalamic projection, and Jones & Powell had just published their landmark studies of cortical connections. And Ivan himself had, of course, described how the effects of prefrontal and caudate lesions were similar, initiating the important research line on fronto-striatal loops
After the seminar, Ivan invited me to participate in experiments. In the rat it was still unclear whether 'frontal' deficits after caudate lesions were due to the destruction of fibers of passage, and we set out to settle this issue by applying substances through small cannulae blocking or mimicking neurotransmitters in the caudate. We first established that the behavioral paradigm was indeed sensitive to both prefrontal and caudate lesions, and then used this behavior in the cannulated animals.

 

Ivan's hand. He was also a skilled surgeon

 

 

Scopolamine indeed abolished delayed alternation, but we used regular rat pellets to hungry animals as reinforcers. Towards the end of the lengthy experiment, another group published results indicating an anorexc effect of scopolamine, which left our results inconclusive.

In spite of experimental frustrations, my two years in Ivan's lab became a very happy and enriching period. I had been introduced to a Lurian-type neuropsychology during the previous year, and Ivan patiently guided me into a more stringent and less speculative line of thinking about the brain and behavior. I went back to human neuropsychology, but Ivan's good influence remained, as he himself remained as the wise older friend. Whatever I may have accomplished in the way of clear thinking, I owe to him and my two years in his lab.




                        Ivan and Gunilla
 

    Gunilla Öberg

 
 

In the summer of 1972, we spent a couple of nights around a fire at Ll. Gribsø

 

 

 

   


Other researchers from the Dept. of Neurophysiology, 1972

                             Tatiana Pasternak

Claude Ghez

   Jørn Haunsgård

 


 

           Paul Dyhre-Poulsen

          

                                     Dyrevennen Anders