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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.

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

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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