Northwestern Events Calendar


Computational Insights into the Neural Control of Complex Behavior

When: Wednesday, January 15, 2020
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Ward Building, 5-230, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Donna Daviston   312.503.1687

Group: Department of Physiology Seminars

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Physiology welcomes faculty candidate, Ann Kennedy, Ph.D. with California Institute of Technology


Naturalistic behavior requires the coordination of neural activity across multiple brain areas, on time scales many orders of magnitude beyond those of individual neurons. This neural activity must furthermore be sensitive to internal state and experience, allowing animals to respond to their environment in a flexible and context-specific manner. Recent advances in our ability to manipulate and record neural activity in freely behaving animals have revealed deep-brain structures that play a key role in the control of survival behaviors such as social interactions and predator defense. By analyzing the population activity of neurons in multiple hypothalamic nuclei of freely behaving mice, we uncover neural representations of internal state and behavior. These representations vary both on timescales of days and on the sub-second timescale of the animal’s behavior, and provide insight into the control strategy by which the hypothalamus governs expression of complex behavior. To support these investigations, we also introduce novel machine learning tools for automated tracking and behavior quantification, producing detailed, high-throughput characterizations of animal behavior in a user-unbiased manner.

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