Microtechnologies for high-content, high-throughput neuroscience

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium | Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Dirk Albrecht, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior
The Rockefeller University

Microtechnologies for high-content, high-throughput neuroscience

Abstract: 
We sense and respond to changing environments and internal desires through the coordinated activity of brain circuits. How does information flow in these networks to control behavior, and how is it altered in neurological disorders? The nematode C. elegans is a powerful model system to address these questions in a small, genetically-tractable nervous system. To correlate neural and behavioral responses, Dr. Albrecht has developed high-content microfluidic methods for optogenetic recording of neural activity in freely-behaving worms responding to precise spatiotemporal patterns of chemical stimuli. In this seminar, he will discuss how these quantitative tools, coupled with genetic manipulation of neuronal circuitry, enabled the characterization of new locomotory behaviors, circuit computations, and circuit pathways. He will present specific examples regarding rapid neuropeptide signaling and behavioral variability, and discuss future improvements and applications toward understanding the genetic basis of neural and behavioral responses in healthy and dysfunctional circuits.