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Scholz Group

The goal of the group ‘Neural Information Flow’ is to understand how animals integrate multiple sources of information to guide their behavior. We study foraging in the roundworm C. elegans, a behavior that is essential for survival. The worms’ brain is particularly interesting, as locomotion and feeding are controlled in two distinct neural circuits connected by a bottleneck of only a few neurons. How information is transmitted and how it is compressed between these two circuits is a key question in my group. We follow the information flow in the brain experimentally using behavioral assays, neural activity imaging, optogenetics, and genetics. We expect that this approach will yield insight on decision making and attention in a small invertebrate brain.

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Methods

  • behavior tracking of locomotion and feeding
  • whole-brain calcium imaging
  • genetic targeting of individual neurons
  • optogenetics

5 selected publications

  1. Bonnard, Elsa, Jun Liu, Nicolina Zjacic, Luis Alvarez, and Monika Scholz. (2022). “Automatically Tracking Feeding Behavior in Populations of Foraging Worms.” bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.20.477072.
  2. Zjacic, Nicolina, and Monika Scholz (2022). The role of food odor in invertebrate foraging Genes, Brain and Behavior, e12793.
  3. Hallinen, K. M.*, Dempsey, R.*,Scholz, M.*(*equal contribution), Yu, X., Linder, A. L., Randi, F., Sharma, A., Shaevitz, J. and Leifer, A. L. (2021). Decoding locomotion from population neural activity in moving C. elegans, eLife 10, e66135
  4. Scholz, M., Dinner, A. R., Levine, E. and Biron, D. (2017).  Stochastic feeding dynamics arise from the need for information and energy. PNAS 114,9261–9266
  5. Scholz, M., Lynch, D. J., Lee, K. S., Levine, E. and Biron, D. (2016).  A scalable method for automatically measuring pharyngeal pumping in C. elegans. J Neur Meth 274,172–178.