CSB PhD Candidate: Adam Atanas
Advisor: Prof. Steven Flavell
Title: "Brain-wide representations of behavior spanning multiple timescales and states in C. elegans"
Abstract: "Changes in an animal’s behavior and internal state are accompanied by widespread changes in activity across its brain. However, how neurons across the brain encode behavior and how this is impacted by state is poorly understood. We recorded brain-wide activity and the diverse motor programs of freely-moving C. elegans and built probabilistic models that explain how eachneuron encodes quantitative features of the animal’s behavior. By determining the identities of the recorded neurons, we created, for the first time, an atlas of how the defined neuron classes in the C. elegans connectome encode behavior. Many neuron classes have conjunctivere presentations of multiple behaviors. Moreover, while many neurons encode current motor actions, others encode recent actions. Changes in behavioral state are accompanied by widespread changes in how neurons encode behavior, and we identify these flexible nodes in the connectome. Our results provide a global map of how the cell types across an animal’s brain encode its behavior."