Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN/BFNT Sonderseminar

Wednesday, 31.03.2010 11 s.t.

How are worms not completely drunk? A reverse correlation approach to characterizing C. elegans thermotaxis

by Maximilian Puelma Touzel
from Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Canada

Contact person: Fred Wolf

Location

Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)

Abstract

C. Elegans, the classic model organism for genetics, has demonstrated an increasing utility for studies in behaviour and its proponents say it strikes the right balance between tractable quantification and robust, ecologically natural phenomena. One of the latter is its ability to find particular isotherms in a thermal gradient through something like a biased random walk. I am developing an experimental assay for the application of a systems-level analysis known as reverse correlation (a classic technique for studying the response properties of individual neurons). By applying this technique at the level of the organism, I hope to tease out information about the worm’s thermosensitive strategy, including the deterministic tendency in its thermotaxis. In my talk, I’ll give some background on the worm and its thermosensation and then get into my progress in the project so far, which has taken me into the modelling of heat diffusion.

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