Janelia Group Leader
Brain-wide computation for learning and autonomic control
Networks of neurons, distributed across the brain and the body, have evolved to solve a large range of problems faced by animals in their natural habitats. They do this with remarkable flexibility and efficiency. Because of the distributed nature of the nervous system, a full understanding may hinge upon being able to observe and perturb the system at the global scale. In my lab we have developed experimental and computational approaches that address the question at the global and cellular scale simultaneously during behavior. To this end, we have developed experimental and computational methods, which I will discuss in the first part of the talk. Next, I will discuss their application to understanding the neural basis of novel forms of flexible behavior involving navigation, ‘giving up’, and brain-body communication. The multiregional and multi-cell-type understanding obtained in this way makes direct contact with control theory to match neural circuits to algorithms for survival.