How we learn, predict and decide: the circuit basis of behaviour

May 25, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Marta Zlatic, hosted by Rebecca Yang
zlatic in lab

Duke Neurobiology welcomes Marta Zlatic, PhD, Research Leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. For connection info to her Zoom seminar "How we learn, predict and decide: the circuit basis of behaviour", email d.shipman@duke.edu. Partial Abstract: Learning, predicting, and deciding are fundamental brain functions essential for survival across the animal kingdom. Despite decades of investigation, we do not understand the rules governing biological intelligence. A major obstacle to progress has been the inability to determine the the architecture of the circuits that implement these functions and to relate the architectural motifs to their function. To overcome this obstacle we have established the Drosophila larva as a powerful genetic model system, ideally suited for relating the structure of neural circuits to their function. In this system it is possible to map circuits with synaptic resolution and to record and manipulate the activity of uniquely identified neurons to determine their roles in behaviour. Both vertebrates and insects have evolved higher-order centres specialized in forming large numbers of associative memories. To investigate the organizational logic of the learning centre in the insect brain, we have mapped its complete wiring diagram at synaptic resolution. Our EM reconstruction revealed multiple novel circuit motifs that provide clues about learning and decision-making models and their neuronal implementation.