OpenWorm Journal Club: The Search for Food

Ramin M. Hasani from TU Wien together with Dr. Stephen Larson from the OpenWorm Foundation have led a live discussion about a recent work describing a model for predicting C. elegans random search behavior. The paper to be discussed is "A stochastic neuronal model predicts random search behaviors at multiple spatial scales in C. elegans" by W. Roberts, et. al.

Link to the event: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MflKJyaRADk)

To boldly go where no worm has gone before. This is the research that seeks to model and deepen our understanding of how the neural circuitry of C. Elegans drives the worm to seek out new potential food sources.


In this edition of the OpenWorm Journal Club, we discuss recent work describing a model for predicting C Elegans random search behavior. The paper to be discussed is "A stochastic neuronal model predicts random search behaviors at multiple spatial scales in C. elegans" by W. Roberts, et. al., and the discussion will be led by Dr. Ramin Hasani from the Vienna University of Technology, and Dr. Stephen Larson from the OpenWorm Foundation.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.12572
Published January 29, 2016
Cite as eLife 2016;5:e12572

Paper Abstract:
"Random search is a behavioral strategy used by organisms from bacteria to humans to locate food that is randomly distributed and undetectable at a distance. We investigated this behavior in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, an organism with a small, well-described nervous system. Here we formulate a mathematical model of random search abstracted from the C. elegans connectome and fit to a large-scale kinematic analysis of C. elegans behavior at submicron resolution. The model predicts behavioral effects of neuronal ablations and genetic perturbations, as well as unexpected aspects of wild type behavior. The predictive success of the model indicates that random search in C. elegans can be understood in terms of a neuronal flip-flop circuit involving reciprocal inhibition between two populations of stochastic neurons. Our findings establish a unified theoretical framework for understanding C. elegans locomotion and a testable neuronal model of random search that can be applied to other organisms."

There will be a panel discussion, and time for questions on social media at the event. Brought to you by the folks at OpenWorm (http://www.openworm.org/)