Behavior is the result of a decision-making process that takes into account sensory input, motivation, and past experiences. Whether it’s a fly looking for food, a mouse running from a predator, or a human playing soccer, all species adjust their movements based on their environment and their needs. This decision-making process involves weighing the benefits and costs of different options based on past experiences, and taking into account internal states like hunger and fatigue. Unfortunately, the neural networks that allow us to adapt our decisions and behavior are often impacted by neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, spinal cord injury, depression, ADHD, and epilepsy. Understanding these neural mechanisms is critical for developing effective treatments for these disorders.
The iBehave Network has two main goals. The first goal is to define the structure of natural, flexible behaviors and their neuronal implementation. This involves studying how different species adjust their motor output based on sensory inputs and internal states such as motivation and memory. The network aims to understand the neural networks that underpin the ability to adapt decisions and behavior to a situation and need. By understanding the structure of natural behaviors and their neuronal implementation, the network hopes to gain insights into how neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders affect behavior and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
The second goal of the iBehave Network is to improve our understanding of common neurological and psychiatric disorders through a computational ethology approach. The network aims to use computational models to simulate behavior and understand how neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders affect decision-making and behavior. By doing so, the network hopes to drive innovation and development in diagnosis and therapy for these disorders.
To achieve these goals, the iBehave Network uses a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. The network has nine intersectional projects (IPs) that bring together scientists and clinicians from various fields to study different aspects of behavior and its neural implementation. The network also has joint platforms for technology development and dissemination, which allows for the sharing of knowledge and resources between members. By promoting collaboration and interdisciplinary research, the iBehave Network aims to make significant contributions to our understanding of behavior and its neural implementation, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.