Single neuron and network computations in escape decisions

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Tiago Branco

    University College London

Project summary

When we make decisions, we assess the evidence before us and make a choice based on our evaluation. Several areas of the brain are involved in this complex process and understanding the neural circuit mechanisms behind decision-making is a big challenge. 

We will discover these mechanisms by studying a simple instinctive decision – escaping from imminent threat. This decision is processed by a small and ancient part of the brain, which we will study in mice to understand how neurons process threatening stimuli and compute the option to escape. We will record neural activity using silicon probes and calcium imaging, as well as intracellular activity in single neurons while mice decide whether to escape when presented with different levels of threat and different response options. 

These studies will help to explain how neurons process information and past experiences to generate choices.