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Deciphering neural circuits for innate behaviors: experimental and theoretical approaches in model organisms

Abstract

Model organisms, such as fruit flies and nematode worms, have been essential to our understanding of nervous system function. Their relatively small and simple nervous system has allowed us to identify neurons and circuits across animals. Additionally, a wealth of genetic tools is available to label specific sets of neurons and manipulate them in intricate ways. In combination with cutting-edge imaging and electrophysiology techniques, we can examine the computations performed by individual neurons and neuronal populations. Thus, it is not a surprise that works on model organisms have unraveled milestone discoveries in nervous system development and function.

Understanding the neural circuit basis of behavior is a challenging goal in modern neuroscience. In fact, such a complex problem requires a multidisciplinary approach involving genetics, molecular biology, optics, ethology, neurobiology, and mathematical modeling. This strategy is most efficient when using model organisms, as they can produce complex motor behaviors and sophisticated imaging techniques can now record neuronal activity and the individual behavior simultaneously.

In this workshop, we have invited an exciting selection of speakers ranging from experimentalists to theorists who work with different neural circuits in model organisms, such as navigation and decision-making, locomotion, vision, and camouflage. The goal of the workshop is to discuss new works, techniques and open questions on the interface between neural circuits and behavior.

Schedule