Time cells in the human hippocampus and entorhinal cortex support episodic memory

Gray Umbach, Pranish Kantak, Joshua Jacobs, Michael Kahana, Brad E. Pfeiffer, Michael Sperling, Bradley Lega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The organization of temporal information is critical for the encoding and retrieval of episodic memories. In the rodent hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, evidence accumulated over the last decade suggests that populations of “time cells” in the hippocampus encode temporal information. We identify time cells in humans using intracranial microelectrode recordings obtained from 27 human epilepsy patients who performed an episodic memory task. We show that time cell activity predicts the temporal organization of retrieved memory items. We also uncover evidence of ramping cell activity in humans, which represents a complementary type of temporal information. These findings establish a cellular mechanism for the representation of temporal information in the human brain needed to form episodic memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28463-28474
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 10 2020


  • Human electrophysiology
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Theta precession
  • Time cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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