Date: October 19, 2017. 12:00
Location: CCU Seminar Room
Title: Understanding attractor dynamics and abstract internal representations.
Affiliation: Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Decades of neurophysiological studies in mammals have uncovered intriguingly abstract neural representations in central brain regions that are thought to be involved in navigation. The complexity of the underlying circuits and their distance from the sensory and motor periphery has, however, made it difficult to obtain mechanistic insights into their function. I will discuss our efforts to understand how visual landmark and self-motion information is used to compute heading direction in an organism with a much smaller brain, Drosophila melanogaster. I will describe, in particular, how we are combining interrogation of neural circuits in head-fixed behaving flies with modeling and connectomics to dissect compass dynamics within the densely recurrent networks of an insect brain region called the central complex.