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Accueil > Départements > Neurosciences des Systèmes > Equipe Tihana Jovanic

Circuits neuronaux et comportement

Team Leader : Tihana Jovanic

Making appropriate behavioral choices depending on the environment and one’s internal state is essential for survival. In addition, a key feature of behavior is that it is frequently organized in sequences of actions. The neural bases of the decision-making process that leads to appropriate behavioral choices and of the sequence generation mechanism that ensure the proper ordering of individual elements in an action sequence are not poorly understood at a circuit and single neuron level.

In our research, we exploit the advantages of the exquisite genetic tools available in Drosophila for manipulation and monitoring of neuronal activity at single neuron level and the numerical simplicity of the larval nervous system that allows the reconstruction of synaptic connectivity across the nervous system using large-scale electron microscopy to study the structure and function of the neural circuits for sensorimotor decisions and action sequences. We focus on three main aims :

  • Aim 1. Determine how contextual information modulates behavioral choices.
  • Aim 2. Define the brain-wide mechanism underlying competitive interactions between multiple actions
  • Aim 3. Determine the circuit mechanism underlying the production of longer innate sequences

To address these questions, we combine high-throughput behavioral assays, automated quantitative behavioral analysis, electron microscopy reconstruction, optogenetics, functional connectivity studies, modeling and test the predictions of the models by manipulating circuit elements in freely behaving animals.

 

 

Circuit underlying the selection between a hunch and a bend. Schematic representation of the circuit based on EM reconstruction data.
(Jovanic, Scheinder-Mizell and al., cell, 2016)

 

If you are interested in our research, you are welcome to contact us by email.
We are interested in applications from motivated graduate students and postdocs. We will also consider internship requests of undergraduates, both in the field of biology, engineering and computational methods for data analysis.


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