Research

Cerebellar circuitry

The cerebellum is a part of the brain essential for control and learning of precise movements, and possibly many other functions. In humans, it contains about a half of all the the neurons in the brain. We are studying the cerebellum of a simpler animal - the larval zebrafish, were we can examine in detail the structure and function of different cell types in a behavioural context.

Our recent paper on functional characterisation of granule cells has been published in the journal Current Biology, and we are following up on this research by examining other cell types, their interactions and the role in behavior.

Motion perception

Detecting visual motion and estimating its direction and speed is a fundamental computation across all sighted animals. The inputs - the moving images - are fully controllable, and the outputs - body motion - can be precisely measured. Though this problem has been attracting researchers for many decades, there is still a lack of understanding of the full set of computations involved in motion estimation.

In our studies we make use the innate behaviour of larval zebrafish to follow moving backgrounds (the optomotor response). Using stimuli with statistical properties based on natural scenes, we observe that zebrafish larvae have behavioral responses similar to those of flies and humans.

Taking advantage of the functional imaging opportunities that zebrafish neuroscience offers we aim to understand the underlying circuitry involved in this behavior. We focus on the representations of this behavior in retinorecipient areas and in central brain regions using two-photon calcium imaging.