Establishing Behavioural Paradigms

 Automated quantification system for reliable and reproducible behavioural repertoires



Recent technological innovations let biologists pursue the most complex behaviours in molecular term. To achieve the understanding complex behaviours, we need strong image analysis tools that can be adjusted to freely moving objects. Measuring animal behavior is difficult. Even when we can observe very complex behaviors, it would be meaningless until we can successfully and reproducibly quantify those behaviors. Many fly behaviors are currently measured manually, however this is slow and laborious. Subjective decisions by the observer may lead to difficulty in reproducing experiments. Furthermore, human observers may fail to detect behavioral events that are too quick or too slow and may miss events owing to flagging attention. These constitute substantial obstacles to conducting large-scale behavioral screens. These limitations could be overcome through automation. The first step toward measuring behavior is tracking. Machine vision systems have been designed for flies in three dimensions and for measuring locomotion, showing promising accuracy and flexibility. However, the system for measuring complex behaviors automatically has been developed very recently. Caltech developed open software ‘Ctrax: The Caltech Multiple Walking Fly Tracker’ and European researchers developed 'idTracker'. HHMI Janelia research campus set up 'Fly Bowl' which is screening 2,200 GAL4 lines with dTrpA1 to obtain high quality data set to mine social behaviours (image above). Janelia also has been set up 'Fly Olympiad (2009-2012)' project which was "a collection of experiments in behavioral neurobiology to screen thousands of fruit fly lines covering a wide range of behaviors that are relevant to the animals’ livelihood including but not limited to: how flies see, move, interact, and reproduce.​" Dr. Kim will establish Ottawa’s first automated quantification system to measure complex behaviors for large-scale genome- and circuitry-level screenings.​ It is the era of behavioural geneticists who has been seeking for the mysteries of complex behaviours in molecular levels. Behaviours are waiting for your analysis.
 

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 Establishing Behavioural Paradigms

A unique collaboration is bringing automated screening to the study of fly behaviour and could change the way that machines see humans. 
HHMU Janelia campus is the place merging interdisciplinary knowledges together to solve how neural circuitry lead to complex behaviours.​ This is the place you should visit to feel the curiosity-based science.