Circuit mechanisms of visuospatial processing in the zebrafish brain

Complex visual behaviours, such as capturing moving prey or avoiding approaching predators, require animals to compute the location and salience of different objects moving in 3 dimensions. These computations depend on dynamic interactions between many interconnected visual areas in the brain. We use transgenic expression of optogenetic tools, and in vivo 2-photon functional imaging to reveal the cellular organization of these circuits and the dynamics of visual processing in response to complex stimuli. We aim to: (1) generate driver lines that target gene expression to specific cell types within the fish visual system, (2) characterize visual response properties and functional topography within these populations and (3) analyse the dynamics of population activity in the optic tectum and other visual areas, when the fish is presented with competing visual targets. Using optogenetics and laser ablations we will interfere with defined circuit components, to determine the link between circuit computations and behaviour.

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