Research focus

-          how sensory information is integrated and processed to generate behavioral outputs,

-          how the components of neural circuits interact with each other and the sensory world,

-          what functional rules govern the assembly of neural circuits in developing or adult brains.

Understanding how the sensory world is represented in the brain and how these representations generate behaviors that are essential to the life of an organism is the fundamental challenge of sensory neuroscience. The activity of single neurons and the function of synapses have been investigated in great detail. Yet, information processing at the level of the neural circuits is less well understood.

The main goal of our lab is to understand the fundamental principles underlying the function and development of neural circuits in genetically tractable model organisms. We exploit chemosensory systems to achieve this goal. In order to monitor, dissect and perturb the neural circuits of the adult and larval zebrafish brain, we use: two-photon  and widefield microscopy, optogenetics, electrophysiological recordings, molecular genetics and behavioral assays. Ultimately, these experiments will help us to understand the fundamental principles of sensory information processing in the brains of vertebrates, including humans.

The Yaksi Lab is housed at Nerf, a joint research initiative of imec, VIB and K.U.Leuven.