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Albert Lee is interested in how animals form, store, and recall memories of places they've been and things they've experienced there. A related topic Lee and his team study is how animals are able to imagine possible future scenarios of what might happen in those places - an ability that can facilitate goal-directed behavior and planning. The team focuses on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in mice and rats, as these brain regions are known to be critical for spatial learning, memory, and imagination in animals, including humans. The team uses extracellular recording, imaging, intracellular recording, real-time processing, and related methods to monitor and manipulate single neurons and large-scale neural activity across the brain during behavior. They also use real-time brain-machine interfaces to investigate memory retrieval, imagination, and other internally driven cognitive processes. They employ these methods in freely behaving animals and animals fixed in place while behaving in virtual spaces, which allows precise control of the environment with which the animals interact.