CBE/ENGR 225 Faculty Seminar Series Presents: Dr. Sung Soo Kim, Ph.D., Research Specialist, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus, Tues., February 20, 2018 @ 4pm in ESB #2001

Tues., February 20, 2018, ESB 2001

Center for Bioengineering Presents

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ESB #2001


*Light refreshments will be provided*

Sung Soo Kim, Ph.D.
Research Specialist

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Janelia Research Campus

Co-host: Bridget Queenan & Matthieu Louis (MCDB)

Attractor dynamics in the Drosophila brain: Neural circuit motifs underlying an internal representation of heading



A fundamental mystery about the brain is how it generates and maintains abstract internal representations, but models of such representations, including our sense of direction, have been challenging to directly test in mammals. Recently, our lab discovered a population of compass neurons in Drosophila that represent the fly's orientation relative to its environment. These neurons are arranged in a ring according to their heading preference, which allowed us to monitor the activity of the entire population using calcium imaging while optogenetically activating a small subset of neighboring compass neurons to create an artificial heading representation in the fly's brain that replaced the original representation. I will describe how we used this experimental approach in combination with theory to establish key features of the fly compass network that allows it to generate such dynamics. Attractor dynamics have long been invoked in theoretical work, but our study provides direct physiological evidence of their existence and functional architecture.