NYSCF Innovator Maps Neural Circuit for Fly Navigation
To successfully exist, many animals keep track of their angular heading, or directionality, over time as they navigate their environments; however, the brain architecture enabling this capability has never been mapped in any species until now. Using a fly animal model, NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Alumnus Dr. Gaby Maimon and a team at The Rockefeller University successfully mapped two classes of shifting neurons, clockwise- and anticlockwise-shifting, each with two subtypes, whose wiring and physiology provide a means to rotate an angular heading estimate based on the fly’s angular velocity.
Importantly, the features of this biological circuit are similar to proposed computation models of head-direction cells in rodents. Therefore, this research may shed light on neural systems integration in a wide variety of species.