“ZEbrafish Neuroscience Integrated Training Hub”, is a PhD training network supported by the European Union.
The fundamental challenge for ZENITH is to understand how neural circuits process information – from sensory inputs as well as internal states – to enable robust and versatile behaviors. We will exploit the advantages of zebrafish as a small transparent vertebrate and use cutting-edge technology, to elucidate the interactions between molecules, cells and entire networks that ultimately generate adaptive behavior.
The goal of ZENITH training network is to equip grad students with the conceptual, technical and analytical skills required to take on the challenge of understanding how the complex circuits of the vertebrate brain control behavior. The ways to achieve in-depth interdisciplinary training rely on 1) students to have two advisors from different fields (optics, molecular, cellular, system or computational neuroscience) and 2) to spend significant time in the respective laboratories, and 3) to receive excellent training in optics and imaging, genetics, behavior and modelling during three dedicated schools.
After a competitive process of selection in January - March 2020, fifteen international graduate students will choose one project among the 15 projects advertised be enrolled by September 2020 to join one of the 13 labs of the network.
Three scientific components of ZENITH will be emphasized in the training of grad students: 1) Developing innovative novel optical methods to measure and manipulate circuits throughout the entire nervous system. 2) Collaborate between disciplines in order to interrogate circuit function across multiple scales. 3) Collect comprehensive behavior and physiology datasets to build computational circuit models that can be validated experimentally.
We will focus on networks underlying perception, stabilization, movement generation and coordination as well as complex social behavior. Our research will involve the design and application of cutting-edge optical systems that utilize wavefront shaping, fast volumetric imaging and adaptive optics. These innovations will be developed in partnership with high tech European companies. Beyond ZENITH, this technology will have broader applications in neuroscience and medical imaging domains requiring deep tissue, non-invasive imaging.
ZENITH comprises five main scientific work packages designed to deliver exceptional training in the context of ambitious and innovative projects for investigating circuits across multiple scales: (1) Implementing advanced optical methods, (2) Linking molecules to circuits, (3) Studying communication between cell types and regions, (4) Linking circuits to behavior, and (5) Computational modeling of neuronal population activity and behavior data.
Profs. Herwig Baier, Kevin Briggman, Winfried Denk, Friedrich, Erin Schuman, Alex Schier, Steve Wilson and Dr. Karl Kilborn