Research

"Maturity: to have regained the seriousness of a child at play" - Friedrich Nietzsche


Background image: Cotopaxi by Fredric Edwin Church

Individual differences in behavior and brain function

Our research is aimed at understanding the neural and molecular basis for individual differences in behavior. We do this by examining how biological factors, like sex and genetics, affect behavior and brain function. Using adult zebrafish as our animal model, we combine comprehensive behavioral analysis with pharmacology, molecular genetics, and whole-brain activity mapping.

Behavior

Exploratory Behavior

One behavior we study is exploration of a novel tank. During exploration, we fully track the posture (using DeepLabCut; A) and position (B) of fish. Using machine learning, we then identify individual differences in behavior and determine how these behaviors are affected by factors like genetics and sex.

Whole-brain activity mapping

Measuring whole-brain function

To identify the parts of the brain related to behavior we assess whole-brain activity. This is done by combining tissue clearing with light-sheet microscopy. By taking an unbiased whole-brain network analysis approach, we identify both behaviorally relevant brain regions and capture the network organization of the brain.

AZBA: Adult Zebrafish Brain Atlas

To facilitate whole-brain activity mapping, and a deeper understanding of the adult zebrafish brain, we created the first fully digital three-dimensional adult zebrafish brain atlas (AZBA). This resource is key to enabling automated and unbiased whole-brain mapping. To further enhance the utility of AZBA, we currently working on creating a stand-alone website and incorporating AZBA into the BrainGlobe computational environment.