Towards the principles and neural circuit mechanisms of motion guided behavior


May 17, 2017 - 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Northwest Building, Room 243
About the Speaker
James E. Fitzgerald
Speaker Title: 
Post-doctoral Fellow, Swartz Program in Theoretical Neuroscience
Speaker Affiliation: 
Harvard University

Understanding the principles that govern neural circuit implementations of behavior is a central aim of neuroscience. Here I will discuss how general lessons from computational neuroscience can help us
understand the neural basis of the optomotor response, a behavior whereby animals orient and translate themselves in response to moving sensory environments. I’ll first emphasize how optimality principles can help us understand the computation and structure of peripheral visual circuits for motion processing in flies and zebrafish. I’ll then proceed to central brain circuits in zebrafish to discuss how model reduction techniques and representational learning can reveal interpretable models for the sensorimotor transformations underlying specific motion guided behaviors. Each of these topics is generally relevant for understanding how brains flexibly generate a broad range of ethological behaviors.