Towards the principles of neural circuit mechanisms of motion guided behavior

James Fitzgerald

James Fitzgerald

(Harvard University)

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Date: April 25, 2016


Understanding general principles that underlie the functional organization of biological systems is a central aim of biophysics. Here I will discuss how lessons from biophysics can help us understand the neural basis of the optomotor response, a behavior whereby animals orient and translate themselves in response to moving sensory environments. I’ll first emphasize how optimality principles can help us understand the computation and structure of peripheral visual circuits for motion processing in flies, zebrafish, and humans. I’ll then proceed to central brain circuits in zebrafish to discuss how model reduction techniques can reveal interpretable models for the sensorimotor transformations underlying specific motion guided behaviors. Each of these topics is generally relevant for understanding how brains flexibly generate a broad range of ethological behaviors.

Created: Monday, April 25th, 2016