Imaging neuronal activity in the freely moving animal: from the eye to the cortex

25.01.2018, 10:00

Dr Jason Kerr, Center of Advanced European Studies And Research (caesar), an Institute of the Max-Planck Society, Bonn

Motivation underlies the performance of self-determined behavior and is fundamental to decision making, especially with regard to seeking food, mates, and avoiding peril. As many decision making based behaviors in rodents involve a combination of head movements, eye movements, vestibular driven neuronal activity and active sensing of the environment to guide the behavior, studying the freely moving animal is paramount. To achieve this, what is necessary is the precise tracking of the animal's movement and interaction with the environment. Here I will outline work from our group that focuses on how freely moving rodents use their vision during decision making tasks and resulting cortical activity. I will introduce methods that allow accurate recording of neuronal activity from populations of cortical neurons, using multiphoton imaging techniques, while simultaneously tracking eye and head movements during decision making in the freely moving rodent. The second half of the presentation will focus on recent results from our lab showing how freely moving rodents have a distinct eye movement strategy that is of major evolutionary benefit.