The regulation of exploration level and implementation of an optimal algorithm to find food is key for survival of animals. The aim of this project is to understand how motor circuits underlying exploration are modulated based on internal physiological states.
Exploration of the environment allows animals to identify the best conditions in their environment to feed, avoid predators and survive. Most animals at birth generate rudimentary, inflexible motor reflexes. While their nervous system develops, animals tune their exploration level based on their immediate need to feed and sleep. How the nervous system, while still being under construction, acquires the capability of adjusting exploration to its internal states remains largely unknown and will be the goal of this PhD project. We will build a comprehensive model of exploration based on inner physiological states.
Publication 1: Sternberg J., Severi K., Fidelin K., Gomez J., Ihara H., Alcheikh Y., Hubbard J., Kawakami K., Suster M., Wyart C.# . Optimization of Botulinum toxin to probe the role of specific interneurons in innate locomotion. Current Biology, 26: 2319-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.037.
Publication 2: Sternberg, J.R., Prendergast, A.E., Brosse, L., Cantaut-Belarif, Y., Thouvenin, O., Orts-Dell'Immagine, A., Castillo, L., Djenoune, L., Kurisu, S., McDearmid, J.R., Bardet, P.L., Boccara, C., Okamoto, H., Delmas, P., Wyart, C.#  Pkd2l1 is required for mechanoception in cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons and maintenance of spine curvature. Nature Communications 2018, 9:3804. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06225-x.
Publication 3: Orts-Del'Immagine A, Wyart C. Cerebrospinal-fluid-contacting neurons. Current Biology. 2017 Nov 20;27(22):R1198-R1200.