“Using neural engineering to understand brain development”
Hosted by the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME)
Abstract: Constructing from scratch a fully-functioning brain involves many formidable challenges. Two of these are (i) guiding nerve fibers to appropriate targets using molecular cues, and (ii) developing patterns of neural activity appropriate for representing sensory information and driving behavior. I will discuss an integrated program of experimental and theoretical work which addresses these problems. First I will show how combining a novel technology for establishing chemical gradients with mathematical modeling of gradient detection can give insight into the mechanisms underlying nerve fiber guidance. Second I will present our recent work on how behavior and neural coding develop together in the zebrafish. This combines assays of hunting behavior, large-scale calcium imaging of neural activity, and computational models to extract patterns from these data and understand their root causes. Besides uncovering patterns in normal zebrafish brain development, by using an autism mutant we are also understanding more about how brain development is perturbed in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Full list, Biomedical Engineering (BME) seminars
For inquiries contact Suesy Seel.