Automated whole-brain activity mapping from freely behaving animals onto a zebrafish brain atlas


April 15, 2015 - 1:00pm
NW 243
About the Speaker
Owen Randlett (Schier/Engert)

In order to localize the neural circuits involved in generating behaviors, it is necessary to assign activity onto anatomical maps of the nervous system. I will describe our efforts to create a larval zebrafish brain atlas, and a method for measuring neural activity signals from freely swimming zebrafish.

Using image registration across hundreds of larval zebrafish brains, we have built an expandable digital brain atlas containing molecular labels and anatomical region definitions. Using this platform and immunohistochemical detection of phosphorylated-Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK/MAPK) as a readout of neural activity, we have developed a system to create and anatomically contextualize whole brain maps of stimulus- and behaviour-dependent neural activity. This activity mapping assay is technically simple, fast, inexpensive, and data analysis is completely automated. Since this assay is performed on fish that are freely swimming, it is applicable to nearly any stimulus or behaviour.