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You are here: Home / Seminars / Colloquium / Small brains and big data

Small brains and big data

Georges Debrégeas (Lab. Jean Perrin, Sorbonne Univ.)
When Apr 03, 2023
from 11:00 to 12:00
Where Salle Condorcet
Attendees Georges Debrégeas
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Most cognitive processes – creating a meaningful representation of the external world, storing information, making decisions – engage the concerted dynamics of extended neuronal networks. Understanding brain function thus requires, (1) experimental methods to record large neural circuits in vivo, (2) efficient computational methods to uncover the relevant network mechanisms. Here I will describe how zebrafish larva, with its small and transparent brain, has recently become a model of choice for brain-wide functional imaging and optogenetic. A large fraction of its ~100,000 neurons can now be monitored at single cell resolution while the animal performs complex sensorimotor tasks. I will illustrate how these unique assets offer new perspectives for behavioral neuroscience, with two main examples. First, I will describe how we combined functional imaging and quantitative behavioral assays to dissect the neural basis of “phototaxis", the innate tendency of zebrafish to move towards a light source. Second, I will show how Ising-type artificial networks can be trained on neural recordings of brain spontaneous activity to reveal principles of neural persistence. This capacity of neural networks to continuously discharge in the absence of on-going stimuli is believed to subserve short-term memory storage and temporal integration of sensory signals.

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