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defence_SC SIGNED

Computation of innate threats and defensive behaviour in the mouse

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "defence_SC" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: LONDON
postcode: WC1E 6BT
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 United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 195˙454 €
 EC max contribution 195˙454 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2015
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-09-01   to  2020-01-04


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON UK (LONDON) coordinator 195˙454.00


 Project objective

Innate defensive behaviours are emergency responses that animals use to avoid predators and environmental threats, such as escape to a safe shelter or freezing to avoid detection. Engaging in defensive behaviour at the right time and choosing the correct response is essential for survival, but little is known about how the brain achieves this. In this project we aim to understand the neural circuits that process sensory information to compute the presence of a threat and the most appropriate defensive action. We will focus on the mouse superior colliculus (SC), an evolutionarily conserved brain region thought to be crucial for defensive behaviours. In the first stage of the research we will study the behavioural response triggered by both visual and auditory stimuli. We will then identify the SC neurons that facilitate the defensive response using two strategies. First, we will measure the neuronal activity to different defence responses using single-unit recordings in freely moving animals. Second, we will employ a novel method of activity-dependent recombination, to label active neurons during a defined behavioural period and characterize their functionality using optogenetics. Next, we will determine the synaptic input onto SC neuron populations using in-vivo whole-cell recordings in head-fixed mice navigating a virtual environment. Finally, we will combine in-vitro whole-cell recordings with optogenetics and molecular perturbations of ion channels to study the biophysical mechanisms of multisensory synaptic integration in SC neurons. Success in this project will establish the biological mechanisms that SC neurons use to trigger defensive behaviours in the mouse.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Yaara Lefler, Dario Campagner, Tiago Branco
The role of the periaqueductal gray in escape behavior
published pages: 115-121, ISSN: 0959-4388, DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2019.11.014
Current Opinion in Neurobiology 60 2020-01-30
2018 Dominic A. Evans, A. Vanessa Stempel, Ruben Vale, Sabine Ruehle, Yaara Lefler, Tiago Branco
A synaptic threshold mechanism for computing escape decisions
published pages: 590-594, ISSN: 0028-0836, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0244-6
Nature 558/7711 2020-01-30

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The information about "DEFENCE_SC" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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