Kevin L. Briggman, Ph.D.

Title
Director and Scientific Member
Department
Computational Neuroethology
Institution
Centre of Advanced European Studies and Research, Max-Planck Institutes
Address
Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2
City, Zip
Bonn, 53175
Country
Germany
Phone
+49 (0)228 9656-101
E-mail
kevin.briggman[at]caesar.de
Website
https://www.caesar.de/en/our-research/computational-neuroethology/director.html
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2014

Research

Our lab is interested in understanding the neural circuits underlying animal behavior, including sensory discrimination , behavioral choice, and changes in movement patterns. These circuits are widely distributed throughout the brains of animals. Rather than studying brain regions in isolation, we develop and employ methods to perform whole-brain cellular resolution imaging. Our aim is to functionally record from each and every neuron within the brain of an animal and then anatomically reconstruct which neurons are connected. We use the zebrafish as a model organism for studying animal behavior, and in particular, we are investigating the circuits that allow a newly born zebrafish to locate, track and capture its prey. For a young fish to catch, for example, a swimming paramecium, neurons in its retina must relay signals to brain regions that interpret this information as “prey” and, ultimately, trigger the motor program that will drive the fish toward its meal. My laboratory will monitor the activity of cells across the whole brain of young zebrafish as they track a “prey-like stimulus” in a virtual reality chamber. The brains of these same fish will then be anatomically reconstructed at super high resolution with 3D electron microscopy. The resulting whole-brain activity and connectivity maps will provide a template for studying behavior at the cellular level and could pave the way toward the treatment of disorders in which sensory processing, such as vision, goes awry.