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Circuit mechanisms that command and pattern behavioural sequences (360G-Wellcome-220273_Z_20_Z)

Animals accomplish goal-directed behaviours by performing sequences of motor actions. A central goal of neuroscience is to understand how neural circuits regulate behaviour in accordance with external events and internal drives and precisely choreograph diverse actions for a successful outcome. To meet this challenge, I will exploit the unique accessibility of the larval zebrafish and focus on a conserved behaviour – hunting – in which a sequence of discrete, specialised actions mediates pursuit and capture of prey. I will use a powerful experimental strategy that combines cellular-resolution calcium imaging, behavioural analyses, optogenetic circuit manipulations, neuroanatomical tracing and computational modelling to discover how brain-wide circuits operate at the cellular level to flexibly control the expression and coordination of behaviour. This paradigm will enable me to discover (1) how sensory and internal state information are integrated to control the sensorimotor decision to hunt, (2) how specific hunting actions are generated and (3) how command signals operate alongside dynamic sensory inputs to assemble a goal-directed sequential behaviour. Overall, the project will produce a mechanistic, cellular-resolution circuit model that explains how the brain controls and patterns multi-component behaviour. I expect this will reveal fundamental principles about the operational logic of the nervous system.

£2,078,748

31 Mar 2020

Grant details
Amount Awarded 2078748
Applicant Surname Bianco
Approval Committee Science Interview Panel
Award Date 2020-03-31T00:00:00+00:00
Financial Year 2019/20
Grant Programme: Title Senior Research Fellowship
Internal ID 220273/Z/20/Z
Lead Applicant Dr Isaac Bianco
Planned Dates: End Date 2025-05-31T00:00:00+00:00
Planned Dates: Start Date 2020-06-01T00:00:00+00:00
Recipient Org: Country United Kingdom
Region Greater London
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