Understanding how the brain works represents one of the greatest challenges in modern science. This question embraces mechanisms spanning multiple levels of description, from genes to biochemical pathways, from neurons to circuits, from circuit activities to adaptive behaviours. The goal of the FLiACT programme is to train young researchers in the concepts and techniques necessary to study integrated brain functions. FLiACT will create a unique pan-European training network interconnecting 8 academic partners and 3 SMEs specialised in complementary fields of research from molecular and behavioural neurogenetics to electrophysiology, bioengineering and applied biomedicine.
To facilitate knowledge transfer across the network, FLiACT will focus on one model organism, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. During the last decades, Drosophila has become a premier system to clarify the molecular and cellular logic of perception and cognition. It has also emerged as a powerful model to study the genetic bases of neurodegenerative diseases affecting humans. The fly community can now capitalize on an unprecedented toolkit to probe the function of neural circuits in vivo and to interfere with their functions in a highly controlled manner. We aim to provide a group of neuroscientists with enough momentum to combine all these tools in a unifying framework.
In collaborative and personalised research projects, FLiACT fellows will seek to elucidate how neural circuit computation controls behaviour and how circuit-function relationships are genetically encoded. FLiACT will organise a series of interdisciplinary workshops on neurogenetics, neuroanatomy, neuroimaging and behavioural analysis and transferable skills. We will maximize the impact of our initiative by opening all workshops and conferences to the neuroscience community. FLiACT intends to have a timely structuring effect in a strategic area for European research and technology: systems neuroscience.
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