Imaging brain and behavior in the freely moving animal and seeing what they see Event as iCalendar

24 September 2018


Venue: CBR Seminar Room 501-505

Host: Centre for Brain Research

Contact email:

Dr Jason Kerr Sept 24

Seminar by Dr Jason Kerr - Director, Department of Behavior and Brain Organization, Research Center caesar, Max-Planck, Bonn

Multiphoton-imaging, using either two or three-photon excitation, allows unambiguous access to neuronal populations and neuronal substructures located well below the cortical surface. In combination with genetically encoded activity indicators this approach can be used to infer the underlying spiking activity from large neuronal populations in the awake behaving animal, with single cell and single action-potential accuracy. I will present recent imaging and analysis tools that are necessary to accurately record activity from genetically encoded calcium indicators in neuronal populations measured in freely moving animals. I will also outline recent advances allowing simultaneous tracking of the precise head and eye positions of these freely behaving animals. In the second half of the presentation I will detail recent results from tracking head and eye movements in freely behaving Rodents, Carnivores and Scandentids, and the computational approaches for rendering the environment from their point of view. I will finish by describing the disparate strategies these mammals use to maintain binocular alignment while tracking moving targets and estimating distances and show how this relates to distinct retinal circuitry.

Bio: Dr Jason Kerr studied human anatomy at the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at Otago University, receiving a doctorate in neurophysiology in 1999. Thereafter he held two post-doc positions, from 1999 to late 2003 at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and then until 2005 at the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Dr. Kerr continued to work as project leader until 2006 in the department headed by Bert Sakmann, before taking up the post of leader of the Network Imaging Group at the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen. He is now Director and head of the Department of Behavior and Brain Organization at the caesar research center, a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and a member of the MPI for Metabolism Research, Cologne. The long-term goal of Dr. Kerr’s research is to understand how mammals use their vision to make decisions and the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie this process