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We use interdisciplinary approaches including theory and experiments to understand how computation is embodied in biological matter. Examples include cognition in single cell protists and morphological computing in animals with no neurons and origins of complex behavior in multi-cellular systems. We will also share new tools to enable “virtual reality arena” for single cells - enabling never before seen behavior of single cells over multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Animals live in a multisensory world and use different sensory channels to communicate during crucial behavioral contexts such as aggression and reproduction. Despite the importance of this multimodal communication, there are relatively few species in which information on sender signals and receiver responses are known. How do individuals send information in multiple sensory channels and where is this information processed and integrated in the receiver’s brain to produce context-dependent behaviors?
Each animal contains a rich diversity and lineage of cell types, equal in complexity to the diversity of animal species themselves. However, much less is known about the origins of cell type. Dr. Phil Abitua, who has done his graduate research with Mike Levine (UCB) and postdoc research with Alex Schier (Harvard), will speak on his work to reconstruct the evolutionary origins of two important vertebrate-specific cell types: neurogenic placodes and neural crest cells.
Investigating the Mechanisms of Seasonally-Driven Song Circuit Plasticity in Songbirds (by: Eric Lumsden in the Perkel Lab)
Generalized neural decoding across participants and recording modalities (by: Steven Peterson in the Brunton Lab)
A synthetic biology tool to decode the development of lateral roots (by: Sarah Guiziou in the Nemhauser Lab)