Curious about MoSeq, and want to understand a little bit more about how it works, what is can (and cannot) do, and what we are doing about it? Bob has recently written a review for BMC Biology (found here) on exactly that – we hope it is useful!
Archives for June 2019
Three birthdays and a passed qual!
Happy Birthday to all, and a big congrats to Rockwell (a joint student between the Datta and Hoekstra labs) on passing his PQE!
Happy New Year, 2018!
Good Luck, Kristen!!!
Kristen Drummey is (was?) an amazing post-bac in the lab, who has spent the past several years working with our former student Tari Tan on alternative modes of olfactory coding. Alas, all good things must end, and Kristen recently departed to start graduate school at the University of Washington. We are going to really really miss her – she was an amazing member of the lab who made all sorts of scientific contributions (more about that soon!) – we wish her all the best, and look forward to seeing all the great science to come! Check out this beautiful NeuroTree for the Datta lab that Kristen made for us as a goodbye gift!
A new lab tradition
So, we’ve started a new lab tradition. Whenever anyone gets a paper published, the main authors get to choose an activity for the whole lab. To set the standard, Jeff and Win (for their striatal MoSeq paper) picked a few activities that, well, let’s just say might not have been Bob’s first choice; this led to the lab’s first ever hipster day in Maine. We started by spending a billion dollars on various toasts (Maine blueberry jam!), followed by a hike to a waterfall (we stuck to this, rather than the rivers and the lakes we were used to), then to *ahem* a fermentery where Bob was appropriately suspicious, then to dinner at a brewery. An amazing time, and Bob learned that kombucha does not uniformly taste like feet.
Striatal circuits for behavioral syllables and grammar
Check out our new paper — here — by Jeff Markowitz, Win Gillis and others from the Datta and Sabatini labs (who collaborated on this work) identifying neural codes for 3D behavior in dorsolateral striatum (DLS) that support moment-to-moment action selection.
Previous work from Alex Wiltschko in the lab (here) identified an underlying structure in mouse behavior, in which naturalistic exploration appeared to be divided into sub-second behavioral motifs (which we call syllables) that are expressed probabilistically over time (which we refer to as grammar). To identify behavioral syllables and grammar, Alex developed a behavioral characterization system that combines 3D machine vision and unsupervised, data-driven machine learning called Motion Sequencing, or MoSeq for short.
Jeff (who is a joint postdoc between us and Bernardo Sabatini’s lab) and Win had read the fantastic work from the Fentress and Berridge labs demonstrating that the DLS contains neural correlates for behavioral components and sequences that make up naturalistic and spontaneous grooming behaviors (see a subset of this work here, here and here). Based upon these foundational efforts, Jeff and Win hypothesized that the DLS might more generally encode information about spontaneously-expressed 3D behaviors e.g., behavioral syllables and grammar.
To address this hypothesis, they (with a huge assist from our collaborator Scott Linderman) rendered MoSeq compatible with all forms of neural recording. Using this framework, they found that activity in the striatum systematically fluctuates as mice switch from expressing one syllable to the next, that the direct and indirect pathways encode non-redundant and temporally decorrelated information that represents behavioral syllables as they are expressed, that behavioral grammar is explicitly represented in DLS, and that the DLS is required for the appropriate expression of behavioral grammar both during spontaneous locomotory exploration and during odor-guided behaviors. These findings suggest that the DLS selects which 3D behavior to express at the sub-second timescale, and set up future work (ongoing in the lab) to ask how corticostriatal circuits implement syllables and grammar, and to explore how these circuits are sensitive to sensory cues.
This work has been covered by Harvard Magazine here, by the Simons Foundation here, and by What A Year, a website for high school students interested in science, here.
Before Emalee Peterson (who is working on go-no go tasks in the lab) became our amazing technician, she was an amazing undergrad – here she is defending her thesis last summer – she worked to understand how olfactory detection and discrimination may be different in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders, which may underlie their characteristic deficits in social behavior.
McDonald’s is our spot!
The Datta lab operates on a single principle — Taco Bell is amazing. Corollary: McDonald’s, Domino’s, and the rest of the Yum Brands family are pretty good too. In celebration of our core belief, for our 2018 beer hour we decided to go all in.
Datta lab representation at Cosyne 2018 was strong – check out Stan crushing it on the main stage, and Jeff proselytizing on behalf of Motion Sequencing.
Mea culpa redux
So we’ve been VERY bad at updating this site in the last year….in no small part because everyone in the lab is really busy doing science! And so we’ve accumulated lots of updates and pics of fun things we’ve been up to. With your collective forgiveness, we are just going to dump all these en masse to the blog. We look forward (fingers crossed) to being better about keeping up with the changes in the lab as they happen on this site…sooner or later.