Tuesday, October 20th – I never thought I would be saying this by day three, but I am actually kind of getting used to how this works. I am absorbing all of the information like a sponge and it is apparently quite a big sponge, because I am ready to absorb more!
As I said the first day, I am loving the poster boards. Meeting all those scientists, getting to ask them all about their research…there is a lot to take in. Here are some examples from today.
Combining innovative technologies
Remember the topic of our symposium from yesterday? Today I found a couple of posters showing similar research applications. Caitlin vander Weele (MIT, Cambridge) had a great (and colorful – thank you heatmaps!) poster on her lab’s research. They studied the real-time neural dynamics (Inscopix) in the medial prefrontal cortex during exposure to certain stimuli. Then they also use optogenetics modulation of this area resulting in aversive and anxiety-like behavior. Movement and behavior of these animals was tracked with EthoVision XT.
Maria Isabel Carreno (Neurocentre Magendie, France) also presented very interesting work, combining video tracking in an open field with four pressure sensitive sensors to get refined and sensitive data on the movement of animals. This work has the potential to be a great addition to video tracking data, because in addition to movement parameters such as velocity and distance moved, the way animals actually moved can be distinguished; for example, strain or model differences can be picked up. Maria Isabel showed me data that even distinguishes breathing and heartbeat, allowing them to accurately discriminate between a resting and a sleeping animal.
There are the zebrafish
I have not seen that much research on zebrafish at this conference yet, but this is a nice example: Bishen Singh (Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington) and his colleagues developed a paradigm to train for associative conditioning in zebrafish using video tracking and automated stimuli such as food dispensers in reward-based place preference testing. They successfully taught fish to discriminate between several auditory and visual cues.
Those are just a few examples of what I am learning here. Stay tuned for more. See you tomorrow!