Using sensory and internal state information, the brain selects and generates specific behavioral responses. This project will analyze communication between decision-making centers that select actions and brainstem circuits that produce motor programmes.
A fundamental question in neuroscience is how specialised motor programmes and selected and controlled. We have recently discovered a population of command system neurons in the pretectum, which control execution of hunting sequences. This project will investigate how these neurons communicate with brainstem targets, including neurons in the reticulospinal complex, to generation the specialised action sequences that define hunting behaviour. Techniques will include 2-photon imaging, electrophysiology, optogenetics, behavioral analyses and modelling.
Publication 1: Antinucci P, Folgueira M, Bianco IH*. A pretectal command system controls hunting behaviour. biorXiv, doi.org/10.1101/637215.
Publication 2: Lau JYN, Bianco IH, Severi KE. Cellular-level understanding of supraspinal control: what can be learned from zebrafish? Curr Opin Physiol (2019) doi.org/10.1016/j.cophys.2019.01.013.
Publication 3: Henriques PM, Rahman N, Jackson SE, Bianco IH*. Nucleus Isthmi is required to sustain target pursuit during visually guided prey-catching. Current Biology (2019) 29:1-16. doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.04.064.