The overall objective of the group is to unravel principles of neural computations underlying sensory-motor integration in the vertebrate brain. We use the zebrafish larva as it currently constitutes the only vertebrate system amenable to whole-brain recording with cellular resolution. Using one- or two-photon light-sheet microscopy, we are able to monitor the long-term activity of the quasi-entirety of the 100,000 neurons that comprise the animal brain, as it performs basic sensory-motor tasks.
Our brain needs to constantly fuse sensory information detected by our multiple senses in order to produce a seamless coherent representation of the world. Rather than being the exception, this binding process is ubiquitous to sensory-motor integration and is implicated in most cognitive functions. Its impairment is a cause of various pathologies, such as schizophrenia or autism. Multisensory processing operates on all brain levels from primary cortices over subcortical structures up to higher associative centers, while the smallest operational units are single multisensory neurons.
Using the zebrafish larva as the experimental model and a multidisciplinary approach, including twophoton calcium imaging to monitor activity of neural networks, motor behaviours, genetic engineering techniques to label, monitor and manipulate activity of specific neurons or entire circuits and mathematical methods for data analysis, we are studying the following subjects:
1) Multimodal sensory perception: