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The monthly meeting of OpenWorm
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OpenWorm General Meeting
Wed, February 10, 11:25 AM
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Brains.  What are they good for?  Moving bodies.  But how do we figure out what body movements are made by what brain signals?  By taking video of the behavior of an animal, you’d be surprised how scientists can break down behavior into a language of patterns!  At the next OpenWorm Journal Club, hear Dr. Andre Brown as he tells us how he does that with our friendly C. elegans!

Technology for recording neural activity is advancing rapidly, and whole-brain imaging with single neuron resolution has already been demonstrated for smaller animals. To interpret such complex neural recordings, we need comprehensive behaviour characterizations, which are the brain’s principal output. Animal tracking can increasingly be automated, but an outstanding challenge is finding ways to represent these behavioural data. We have focused on the movement of the nematode worm C. elegans to develop a quantitative representation of behaviour as a series of distinct postures. Each posture is analogous to a word in a language and so we can directly count the number of phrases that makes up the C. elegans behavioural repertoire. C. elegans has a very small nervous system but we find that its behavioural repertoire is still complex. As with human languages, there is a large number of possible phrases, but most are rarely used. When comparing worm populations or environments, we find that the difference between their behaviour is due to a subset of their entire repertoire. In the language analogy, these would correspond to idiomatic phrases that distinguish groups of speakers. A quantitative understanding of the nature of behavioural variation will inform research on the function and evolution of neural circuits.

Relevant paper for the talk is:
Hierarchical compression of C. elegans locomotion reveals phenotypic differences in the organisation of behaviour Alex Gomez-Marin, Greg J Stephens, Andre EX Brown bioRxiv doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/029462
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OpenWorm Journal Club: Body Language of a Worm
Fri, February 5, 12:00 PM
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Is there discernible differences in the overall average worm posture for each strain in each mode?  
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Coming up THIS FRIDAY!
 
If you were building a robot, you’d need to build a way to tell it how to move around.  Living bodies naturally have systems that tell them how to move around; they are called brains.  How brains control bodies is still a mysterious topic, even for a worm.  At the next OpenWorm Journal Club, Saul Kato will talk about some exciting new progress in understanding how the activity of the worm’s brain leads to controlling its body.

The activity of nearly all neurons in the C. elegans brain is recorded and analyzed. This experiment demonstrates that we are able to obtain data from the neurons, and provides a representation of the worm as a biological control system. If we were to take one neuron away, how would the system change? Amongst many highlights, the experiments also show that most active neurons are used in coordinated dynamical activity and behave in a cyclical action sequence reminiscent of central pattern generators. Further understanding the connectome behavior serves as an important ground truth for digital simulations.

Relevant paper for the talk is:
Global brain dynamics embed the motor command sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans
Kato, S., Kaplan, H.S., Schrödel T., Skora S., Lindsay T.H., Yemini, E., Lockery, S., Zimmer, M. Cell (2015) doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.034
http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(15)01196-4
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OpenWorm Journal Club: How Does The Brain Control the Body?
Fri, January 22, 12:00 PM
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The general monthly meeting of OpenWorm
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OpenWorm General Monthly
Wed, January 13, 11:31 AM
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So how far along are scientists on modeling the worm anyway?  The next OpenWorm Journal Club has the answer!
 
You’d think that understanding the biology behind how microscopic worms crawl would be easy, but turns out we don’t fully understand it yet! Join us on Dec 11 where we will review two recent papers that propose computer models to describe how the cells of the worm create its behavior.  We’ll also discuss how this relates to what is going on in the OpenWorm project!

We had a previous journal club in this topic area (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puB8R9PW3BI).  Our community has recently summarized this one (http://blog.openworm.org/post/134163233130/review-of-how-does-a-worm-crawl-openworm), in case you want to catch up!

This talk will highlight the aspects of the project affiliated with research at Indiana University. Relevant papers for the talk are Eduardo and Randal’s recent publications on steering circuits and information flow:

Izquierdo, E.J. and Beer, R.D. (2015). An integrated neuromechanical model of steering in C. elegans. In the Proceedings of ECAL 2015 (pp. 199-206). MIT Press. https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/content/ecal2015/978-0-262-33027-5-ch040.pdf 

Izquierdo, E.J., Williams, P. and Beer, R.D. (2015) Information flow through the C. elegans klinotaxis circuit. PLoS ONE 10(10):e0140397. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.04262v1.pdf
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OpenWorm Journal Club: Closing the Loop from Brain Cells to Behavior
Fri, December 11, 2015, 12:00 PM
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Going down in 45 minutes!
 
If you were building a robot, you’d need to build a way to tell it how to move around.  Living bodies naturally have systems that tell them how to move around; they are called brains.  How brains control bodies is still a mysterious topic, even for a worm.  At the next OpenWorm Journal Club, Saul Kato will talk about some exciting new progress in understanding how the activity of the worm’s brain leads to controlling its body.

The activity of nearly all neurons in the C. elegans brain is recorded and analyzed. This experiment demonstrates that we are able to obtain data from the neurons, and provides a representation of the worm as a biological control system. If we were to take one neuron away, how would the system change? Amongst many highlights, the experiments also show that most active neurons are used in coordinated dynamical activity and behave in a cyclical action sequence reminiscent of central pattern generators. Further understanding the connectome behavior serves as an important ground truth for digital simulations.

Relevant paper for the talk is:
Global brain dynamics embed the motor command sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans
Kato, S., Kaplan, H.S., Schrödel T., Skora S., Lindsay T.H., Yemini, E., Lockery, S., Zimmer, M. Cell (2015) doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.034
http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(15)01196-4
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OpenWorm Journal Club: How Does The Brain Control the Body?
Fri, January 22, 12:00 PM
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NEW RELEASE of a simple Python API for data & facts about C. elegans anatomy: PyOpenWorm v0.6 https://github.com/openworm/PyOpenWorm/releases/tag/v0.6.0 #NewYearNewCode
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If you were building a robot, you’d need to build a way to tell it how to move around.  Living bodies naturally have systems that tell them how to move around; they are called brains.  How brains control bodies is still a mysterious topic, even for a worm.  At the next OpenWorm Journal Club, Saul Kato will talk about some exciting new progress in understanding how the activity of the worm’s brain leads to controlling its body.

The activity of nearly all neurons in the C. elegans brain is recorded and analyzed. This experiment demonstrates that we are able to obtain data from the neurons, and provides a representation of the worm as a biological control system. If we were to take one neuron away, how would the system change? Amongst many highlights, the experiments also show that most active neurons are used in coordinated dynamical activity and behave in a cyclical action sequence reminiscent of central pattern generators. Further understanding the connectome behavior serves as an important ground truth for digital simulations.

Relevant paper for the talk is:
Global brain dynamics embed the motor command sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans
Kato, S., Kaplan, H.S., Schrödel T., Skora S., Lindsay T.H., Yemini, E., Lockery, S., Zimmer, M. Cell (2015) doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.034
http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(15)01196-4
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OpenWorm Journal Club: How Does The Brain Control the Body?
Fri, January 22, 12:00 PM
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Monthly meeting of OpenWorm!
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OpenWorm General Monthly
Wed, December 2, 2015, 11:29 AM
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