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EngineeringPercepts SIGNED

Reverse engineering sensory perception and decision making: bridging physiology, anatomy and behavior

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 EngineeringPercepts project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the EngineeringPercepts project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "EngineeringPercepts" about.

tuft    combining    rodent    electrophysiology    spiking    neurons    decision    carlo    neural    building    vivo    signal    derive    strategy    hypothesis    suggests    context    data    dendrites    cortex    understanding    cellular    recording    basal    mechanisms    perceptual    input    outputs    reconstruction    rodents    injections    inputs    sub    coincide    local    single    synchronized    output    vibrissal    questions    mediated    touch    neuroscience    tactile    interplay    functional    modalities    burst    computations    cortical    substrates    reverse    action    circuits    whisker    imaging    individual    network    mechanistic    triggers    sensory    platform    monte    answered    underlying    virus    thick    motor    custom    correlates    underlie    localizing    internal    populations    tools    model    simulations    biophysical    detecting    active    sensation    generalizable    behavior    layer    engineering    receive    coherent    tufted    multidisciplinary    evoked    percept    species    unmatched    respectively    gap    decisions    facial    function    decide    l5tt    transform    cross    contact    networks    brain    apical    encoded   

Project "EngineeringPercepts" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.

stiftung caesar 

Organization address
address: Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2
city: Bonn
postcode: 53175
website: n.a.

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-08-01   to  2020-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    stiftung caesar DE (Bonn) coordinator 1˙219˙000.00


 Project objective

Understanding how the brain is able to transform sensory input into decisions is one of the major challenges of systems neuroscience. While recording/imaging during sensory-motor tasks identified neural substrates of sensation and action in various cortical areas, the crucial questions of 1) how these correlates are implemented within the underlying neural networks and 2) how their output triggers decisions, will only be answered when the individual functional measurements are integrated into a coherent model of all task-related circuits.

The goal of my proposal is to use the rodent vibrissal system for building such a model in the context of how a tactile-mediated percept is encoded by the interplay between biophysical, cellular and network mechanisms. Specifically, rodents decide to cross a gap when detecting its far side with a single facial whisker. This suggests that whisker contact with the platform, if synchronized with an internal motor signal, triggers the decision. My key hypothesis is that in sensory cortex layer 5 thick-tufted (L5tt) neurons receive touch and motor information via specific pathways that target basal and apical tuft dendrites, respectively. When localizing the far side of the gap, the two inputs coincide and result in burst spiking output to (sub)cortical areas, triggering the gap cross.

To test this hypothesis, I will determine all sensory/motor-related local and long-range inputs/outputs to/from L5tt neurons, measure whisker-evoked responses of these populations and use the data to constrain network simulations of active whisker touch. Using a multidisciplinary approach, combining in vivo electrophysiology, virus injections, custom imaging/reconstruction tools and Monte Carlo simulations, my reverse engineering strategy will provide unmatched mechanistic insight to perceptual decision making and will function as a show case – generalizable across sensory modalities and species – of how to derive computations that underlie behavior.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Robert Egger, Rajeevan T. Narayanan, Jason M. Guest, Arco Bast, Daniel Udvary, Luis F. Messore, Suman Das, Christiaan P.J. de Kock, Marcel Oberlaender
Cortical Output Is Gated by Horizontally Projecting Neurons in the Deep Layers
published pages: 122-137.e8, ISSN: 0896-6273, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.10.011
Neuron 105/1 2020-04-03
2015 Robert Egger, Arno C. Schmitt, Damian J. Wallace, Bert Sakmann, Marcel Oberlaender, Jason N. D. Kerr
Robustness of sensory-evoked excitation is increased by inhibitory inputs to distal apical tuft dendrites
published pages: 14072-14077, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1518773112
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112/45 2019-05-24
2016 Itamar D. Landau, Robert Egger, Vincent J. Dercksen, Marcel Oberlaender, Haim Sompolinsky
The Impact of Structural Heterogeneity on Excitation-Inhibition Balance in Cortical Networks
published pages: 1106-1121, ISSN: 0896-6273, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.027
Neuron 92/5 2019-05-24
2017 Jörgen Kornfeld, Sam E Benezra, Rajeevan T Narayanan, Fabian Svara, Robert Egger, Marcel Oberlaender, Winfried Denk, Michael A Long
EM connectomics reveals axonal target variation in a sequence-generating network
published pages: , ISSN: 2050-084X, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.24364
eLife 6 2019-05-24
2017 Gerardo Rojas-Piloni, Jason M. Guest, Robert Egger, Andrew S. Johnson, Bert Sakmann, Marcel Oberlaender
Relationships between structure, in vivo function and long-range axonal target of cortical pyramidal tract neurons
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00971-0
Nature Communications 8/1 2019-05-24
2017 Rajeevan T. Narayanan, Daniel Udvary, Marcel Oberlaender
Cell Type-Specific Structural Organization of the Six Layers in Rat Barrel Cortex
published pages: , ISSN: 1662-5129, DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2017.00091
Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 11 2019-05-24
2018 Sam E. Benezra, Rajeevan T. Narayanan, Robert Egger, Marcel Oberlaender, Michael A. Long
Morphological characterization of HVC projection neurons in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)
published pages: , ISSN: 0021-9967, DOI: 10.1002/cne.24437
Journal of Comparative Neurology 2019-05-24
2018 Jason M. Guest, Mythreya M. Seetharama, Elizabeth S. Wendel, Peter L. Strick, Marcel Oberlaender
3D Reconstruction and Standardization of the Rat Facial Nucleus for Precise Mapping of Vibrissal Motor Networks
published pages: 171-186, ISSN: 0306-4522, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.09.031
Neuroscience 368 2019-05-24

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