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Ronen Segev's Lab

Ben Gurion University of the Negev

     


Understanding the neural basis of behavior

We are interested in understanding the connection between the function of neural networks and behavior. That is, we ask how neural networks represent and process sensory information in order to enable animals to behave in the world. The lab focuses primarily on visual processing combining experiments, computational modeling and quantitative analysis techniques. The lab is focused along two major projects: visual behavior in the archer fish and retinal encoding.

 

Visual behavior in the archer fish

In our lab we use the archer fish (Toxotes jaculatrix) as our main model animal. The utility of the archer fish as model animal stems from its remarkable ability to shoot down insects settling on the foliage above the water level, and its ability to learn to distinguish between artificial targets. Thus, the archer fish can be trained provides the fish equivalent of a monkey or a human that can report psychophysical decisions. Later on we can use electrophysiology to study the connection between the decision making by the fish and the functional properties of the fish visual system and other parts of the brain. 

 

Retinal encoding and information processing

We use the tiger alamander and archer fish retinas to study basic questions in retinal encoding and information processing. This is done using multi electrode array technology, where many ganglion cells from an isolated retina are simultaneously recoded by an array of extracellular microelectrodes, while visual stimuli are projected from a computer screen onto the layer of photoreceptors.  Because of the modular organization of the retina, one only needs to record from ganglion cells in a small patch of the retina to see the full variety of retinal coding schemes. 

 

Experimental Approaches

The lab expertise is focused on electrophysiology using single electrode, tetrodes and multi-electrode arrays recording. We also combine electrophysiology in vivo of behaving fish together with advanced imaging techniques to measure neuronal activity. In addition, we use theoretical tools together with modeling in order to provide better understanding of our experimental observations and analysis of experimental data.  

Contact 

E-mail: ronensgv[at]bgu.ac.il 

Phone (Office): 972 8 646 1353
Phone (Lab): 972 8 647 9213