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45 Publications

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    08/11/15 | Whole-central nervous system functional imaging in larval Drosophila.
    Lemon WC, Pulver SR, Höckendorf B, McDole K, Branson KM, Freeman J, Keller PJ
    Nature Communications. 2015 Aug 11;6:7924. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8924

    Understanding how the brain works in tight concert with the rest of the central nervous system (CNS) hinges upon knowledge of coordinated activity patterns across the whole CNS. We present a method for measuring activity in an entire, non-transparent CNS with high spatiotemporal resolution. We combine a light-sheet microscope capable of simultaneous multi-view imaging at volumetric speeds 25-fold faster than the state-of-the-art, a whole-CNS imaging assay for the isolated Drosophila larval CNS and a computational framework for analysing multi-view, whole-CNS calcium imaging data. We image both brain and ventral nerve cord, covering the entire CNS at 2 or 5 Hz with two- or one-photon excitation, respectively. By mapping network activity during fictive behaviours and quantitatively comparing high-resolution whole-CNS activity maps across individuals, we predict functional connections between CNS regions and reveal neurons in the brain that identify type and temporal state of motor programs executed in the ventral nerve cord.

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    06/08/15 | Understanding classifier errors by examining influential neighbors.
    Mayank Kabra , Alice A. Robie , Kristin Branson
    IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. 06/2015:

    Modern supervised learning algorithms can learn very accurate and complex discriminating functions. But when these classifiers fail, this complexity can also be a drawback because there is no easy, intuitive way to diagnose why they are failing and remedy the problem. This important question has received little attention. To address this problem, we propose a novel method to analyze and understand a classifier's errors. Our method centers around a measure of how much influence a training example has on the classifier's prediction for a test example. To understand why a classifier is mispredicting the label of a given test example, the user can find and review the most influential training examples that caused this misprediction, allowing them to focus their attention on relevant areas of the data space. This will aid the user in determining if and how the training data is inconsistently labeled or lacking in diversity, or if the feature representation is insufficient. As computing the influence of each training example is computationally impractical, we propose a novel distance metric to approximate influence for boosting classifiers that is fast enough to be used interactively. We also show several novel use paradigms of our distance metric. Through experiments, we show that it can be used to find incorrectly or inconsistently labeled training examples, to find specific areas of the data space that need more training data, and to gain insight into which features are missing from the current representation. 

    Code is available at https://github.com/kristinbranson/InfluentialNeighbors.

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    Zlatic LabFetter LabBranson LabSimpson LabTruman LabCardona Lab
    04/20/15 | A multilevel multimodal circuit enhances action selection in Drosophila.
    Ohyama T, Schneider-Mizell CM, Fetter RD, Aleman JV, Franconville R, Rivera-Alba M, Mensh BD, Branson KM, Simpson JH, Truman JW, Cardona A, Zlatic M
    Nature. 2015 Apr 20;520(7549):633-9. doi: 10.1038/nature14297

    Natural events present multiple types of sensory cues, each detected by a specialized sensory modality. Combining information from several modalities is essential for the selection of appropriate actions. Key to understanding multimodal computations is determining the structural patterns of multimodal convergence and how these patterns contribute to behaviour. Modalities could converge early, late or at multiple levels in the sensory processing hierarchy. Here we show that combining mechanosensory and nociceptive cues synergistically enhances the selection of the fastest mode of escape locomotion in Drosophila larvae. In an electron microscopy volume that spans the entire insect nervous system, we reconstructed the multisensory circuit supporting the synergy, spanning multiple levels of the sensory processing hierarchy. The wiring diagram revealed a complex multilevel multimodal convergence architecture. Using behavioural and physiological studies, we identified functionally connected circuit nodes that trigger the fastest locomotor mode, and others that facilitate it, and we provide evidence that multiple levels of multimodal integration contribute to escape mode selection. We propose that the multilevel multimodal convergence architecture may be a general feature of multisensory circuits enabling complex input–output functions and selective tuning to ecologically relevant combinations of cues.

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    12/23/14 | Mushroom body output neurons encode valence and guide memory-based action selection in Drosophila.
    Aso Y, Sitaraman D, Ichinose T, Kaun KR, Vogt K, Belliart-Guérin G, Placais P, Robie AA, Yamagata N, Schnaitmann C, Rowell WJ, Johnston RM, Ngo TB, Chen N, Korff W, Nitabach MN, Heberlein U, Preat T, Branson KM, Tanimoto H, Rubin GM
    eLife. 12/2014;4:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04580

    Animals discriminate stimuli, learn their predictive value and use this knowledge to modify their behavior. In Drosophila, the mushroom body (MB) plays a key role in these processes. Sensory stimuli are sparsely represented by ∼2000 Kenyon cells, which converge onto 34 output neurons (MBONs) of 21 types. We studied the role of MBONs in several associative learning tasks and in sleep regulation, revealing the extent to which information flow is segregated into distinct channels and suggesting possible roles for the multi-layered MBON network. We also show that optogenetic activation of MBONs can, depending on cell type, induce repulsion or attraction in flies. The behavioral effects of MBON perturbation are combinatorial, suggesting that the MBON ensemble collectively represents valence. We propose that local, stimulus-specific dopaminergic modulation selectively alters the balance within the MBON network for those stimuli. Our results suggest that valence encoded by the MBON ensemble biases memory-based action selection.

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    09/25/14 | Behavioral variability through stochastic choice and its gating by anterior cingulate cortex.
    Tervo DG, Proskurin M, Manakov M, Kabra M, Vollmer A, Branson K, Karpova AY
    Cell. 2014 Sep 25;159(1):21-32. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.08.037

    Behavioral choices that ignore prior experience promote exploration and unpredictability but are seemingly at odds with the brain's tendency to use experience to optimize behavioral choice. Indeed, when faced with virtual competitors, primates resort to strategic counterprediction rather than to stochastic choice. Here, we show that rats also use history- and model-based strategies when faced with similar competitors but can switch to a "stochastic" mode when challenged with a competitor that they cannot defeat by counterprediction. In this mode, outcomes associated with an animal's actions are ignored, and normal engagement of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is suppressed. Using circuit perturbations in transgenic rats, we demonstrate that switching between strategic and stochastic behavioral modes is controlled by locus coeruleus input into ACC. Our findings suggest that, under conditions of uncertainty about environmental rules, changes in noradrenergic input alter ACC output and prevent erroneous beliefs from guiding decisions, thus enabling behavioral variation.

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    07/29/14 | Automated image-based tracking and its application in ecology.
    Dell AI, Bender JA, Branson K, Couzin ID, de Polavieja GG, Noldus LP, Pérez-Escudero A, Perona P, Straw AD, Wikelski M, Brose U
    Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 2014 Jul;29(7):417-428. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.05.004

    The behavior of individuals determines the strength and outcome of ecological interactions, which drive population, community, and ecosystem organization. Bio-logging, such as telemetry and animal-borne imaging, provides essential individual viewpoints, tracks, and life histories, but requires capture of individuals and is often impractical to scale. Recent developments in automated image-based tracking offers opportunities to remotely quantify and understand individual behavior at scales and resolutions not previously possible, providing an essential supplement to other tracking methodologies in ecology. Automated image-based tracking should continue to advance the field of ecology by enabling better understanding of the linkages between individual and higher-level ecological processes, via high-throughput quantitative analysis of complex ecological patterns and processes across scales, including analysis of environmental drivers.

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    07/20/14 | Fast, accurate reconstruction of cell lineages from large-scale fluorescence microscopy data.
    Amat F, Lemon W, Mossing DP, McDole K, Wan Y, Branson K, Myers EW, Keller PJ
    Nature Methods. 2014 Jul 20;11(9):951-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3036

    The comprehensive reconstruction of cell lineages in complex multicellular organisms is a central goal of developmental biology. We present an open-source computational framework for the segmentation and tracking of cell nuclei with high accuracy and speed. We demonstrate its (i) generality by reconstructing cell lineages in four-dimensional, terabyte-sized image data sets of fruit fly, zebrafish and mouse embryos acquired with three types of fluorescence microscopes, (ii) scalability by analyzing advanced stages of development with up to 20,000 cells per time point at 26,000 cells min(-1) on a single computer workstation and (iii) ease of use by adjusting only two parameters across all data sets and providing visualization and editing tools for efficient data curation. Our approach achieves on average 97.0% linkage accuracy across all species and imaging modalities. Using our system, we performed the first cell lineage reconstruction of early Drosophila melanogaster nervous system development, revealing neuroblast dynamics throughout an entire embryo.

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    06/27/14 | Distinguishing seemingly indistinguishable animals with computer vision.
    Branson K
    Nature Methods. 2014 Jun 27;11(7):721-2. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3004

    A general method to recognize and track unmarked animals within a population will enable new studies of social behavior and individuality.

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    04/01/14 | Genome-wide identification of Drosophila Hb9 targets reveals a pivotal role in directing the transcriptome within eight neuronal lineages, including activation of nitric oxide synthase and Fd59a/Fox-D.
    Lacin H, Rusch J, Yeh RT, Fujioka M, Wilson BA, Zhu Y, Robie AA, Mistry H, Wang T, Jaynes JB, Skeath JB
    Developmental Biology. 2014 Apr 1;388:117-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.01.029

    Hb9 is a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that acts in combination with Nkx6, Lim3, and Tail-up (Islet) to guide the stereotyped differentiation, connectivity, and function of a subset of neurons in Drosophila. The role of Hb9 in directing neuronal differentiation is well documented, but the lineage of Hb9(+) neurons is only partly characterized, its regulation is poorly understood, and most of the downstream genes through which it acts remain at large. Here, we complete the lineage tracing of all embryonic Hb9(+) neurons (to eight neuronal lineages) and provide evidence that hb9, lim3, and tail-up are coordinately regulated by a common set of upstream factors. Through the parallel use of micro-array gene expression profiling and the Dam-ID method, we searched for Hb9-regulated genes, uncovering transcription factors as the most over-represented class of genes regulated by Hb9 (and Nkx6) in the CNS. By a nearly ten-to-one ratio, Hb9 represses rather than activates transcription factors, highlighting transcriptional repression of other transcription factors as a core mechanism by which Hb9 governs neuronal determination. From the small set of genes activated by Hb9, we characterized the expression and function of two - fd59a/foxd, which encodes a transcription factor, and Nitric oxide synthase. Under standard lab conditions, both genes are dispensable for Drosophila development, but Nos appears to inhibit hyper-active behavior and fd59a appears to act in octopaminergic neurons to control egg-laying behavior. Together our data clarify the mechanisms through which Hb9 governs neuronal specification and differentiation and provide an initial characterization of the expression and function of Nos and fd59a in the Drosophila CNS.

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    12/01/12 | JAABA: interactive machine learning for automatic annotation of animal behavior.
    Kabra M, Robie AA, Rivera-Alba M, Branson S, Branson K
    Nature Methods. 2012 Dec;10:64-7

    We present a machine learning–based system for automatically computing interpretable, quantitative measures of animal behavior. Through our interactive system, users encode their intuition about behavior by annotating a small set of video frames. These manual labels are converted into classifiers that can automatically annotate behaviors in screen-scale data sets. Our general-purpose system can create a variety of accurate individual and social behavior classifiers for different organisms, including mice and adult and larval Drosophila.

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