Imaging visuomotor transformations in the brain


  • Dr Martin Meyer

    Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Project summary

A fundamental goal of neuroscience is to understand how sensory information is represented in the brain, for example identifying the activity patterns in the brain that allow an animal to distinguish prey from predator. Recording activity in the brain during sensory perception and behaviour is difficult to do in most species due to the size and inaccessibility of the brain. We will use the larval zebrafish whose small size and translucency allows imaging of neural activity throughout the brain using fluorescent reporters of neural activity. This allows us to see how the zebrafish brain sees.

We will present visual stimuli to mimic prey or predator while recording neural activity. At the same time, we will monitor for movements of the eyes and tail that are characteristic of hunting and escape behaviours. This will reveal the patterns of activity in the brain that signal the presence of potential prey or predator and will show how this activity is used to drive behaviour.

We will use zebrafish as an experimental model but our project will generate knowledge on the basic rules that govern sensory perception, decision making and behaviour that occur in all animals, including humans.