December 19, 2017
PBIO seminar series: Michael Long
Uncovering circuit principles that enable robust behavioral sequences
Michael Long, PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience and Physiology
NYU, School of Medicine
host: Adrienne Fairhall
Abstract: For us to interact with the outside world, our brains must plan and dictate our actions and behaviors. In many cases, we learn to reproducibly execute a well-defined series of muscle movements to perform impressive feats, such as hitting a golf ball or playing the violin. How does the brain step through a reliable sequence of premotor commands for behavior? To address this issue, we study the cellular and circuit mechanisms that enable the production of the zebra finch song, a highly stable behavior executed with a high degree of precision. We use techniques ranging from 2-photon imaging, electron microscopy and in vivo recordings to test models of sequence generation at the circuit level. From this work, we can begin to understand the large-scale circuit motifs that underlie sequence generation across a variety of brain regions.