Monitoring real-time real-world interaction in an identified neuron

Research Area: 
A: Motion Intelligence
01.01.2014 until 31.12.2018

The main goal of the proposed project is to monitor the activity of an identified descending neuron as the animal engages in embodied interaction. The targeted neuron is cONv, a giant interneuron of stick insects that mediates short-latency information about tactile sensor movement to the neural networks controlling leg movements. cONv belongs to a group of neurons that encode antennal movement velocity [1], an important cue in active tactile sensing. Owing to its specific properties, it can be identified by means of extracellular nerve recordings.  
The main objectives of the project are to (i) establish reliable extracellular recordings of cONv in unrestrained walking insects; (ii) understand state-dependent changes in neural coding during passive and active behaviours, particularly emphasising the role of self-motion of the tactile system (antennae) and of the locomotion system (walking legs); (iii) derive a computational model of stimulus encoding with regard to natural stimulus situations.