Currently, a major challenge in vision neuroscience is how an animal’s interaction with the environment can be understood in terms of neural activity. What makes this an especially difficult problem is that the link between brain function and behavior can only be studied in a behaving animal, and as visually based decision making behaviors involve a combination of head movements, eye movements, and vestibular driven neuronal activity to guide behavior, studying the freely moving animal is paramount. We have developed imaging techniques to quantify both head and eye positions in the freely moving mammal that allow the reconstruction of an animal’s visual field of view. I will present data showing the disparate strategies that Rodents, Carnivores and Scandentids, animals with semi-laterally facing eyes, use to maintain a stable visual field of view while performing tracking tasks during free behavior. I will also outline our current work using a newly designed head-mounted multi-photon imaging microscope to image activity from cortical neurons in the freely exploring rodent.
Born in New Zealand. Study of Human Anatomy, Otago University, Dunedin/New Zealand, PhD (1999), postdoctoral fellow at National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda/USA (1999-2003) and at Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg (2003-2006), Group Leader at Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen (2006-2013), Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society (since 2013), Director of the Dept. Behavior and Brain Organization at Research Centre Caesar, Bonn (since 2013). Develops imaging and computational approaches to interrogate both brain and behavior in freely moving animals.