Dr. Takashi Kawashima
Neural control of motor actions: from whole-brain landscape to millisecond dynamics
Animals control motor actions at multiple timescales. We use larval zebrafish and advanced optical microscopy to understand the underlying neural mechanisms. First, we examined the mechanisms of short-term motor learning by using whole-brain neural activity imaging. We found that the 5-HT system integrates the sensory outcome of actions and determines future motor patterns. Second, we established a method for recording spiking activity and membrane potential from a population of neurons during behavior. We identified putative motor command signals and internal copy signals that encode millisecond-scale details of the swimming dynamics. These results demonstrate that zebrafish provide a holistic and mechanistic understanding of the neural basis of motor control in vertebrate brains.
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