About this Research Topic
Understanding the neural basis of complex behaviors is a primary aim of neuroscience. However, until recently, the field lacked an appropriate set of techniques for simultaneously measuring neural activity and behavior in freely moving animals, forcing investigators to use immobilized animals performing simplistic behavioral tasks. Synergistic technological breakthroughs in fluorescent brain imaging and behavioral tracking approaches have paved the way to a new type of neuroscience that enables tracking behavior in setups compatible with brain imaging and manipulation, even at the single-cell level, using optical electrophysiology techniques. A diversity of such neurobehavioral imaging systems have been recently invented, spanning the range of conventional model organisms including C. elegans, Flies, Zebrafish, and Rodents. Each species and approach showcases unique technical challenges, achievements, and opportunities.
Our aim with this Research Topic is to provide an overview of this new field. We will present not only the technological advances but also discuss the novel type of experiments and insights that they promise. To achieve that, we welcome articles that span the following categories:
i) Algorithms and imaging systems for tracking and quantifying complex behaviors of freely moving animals;
ii) Molecular tools and microscopes, enabling capturing or manipulating neuronal dynamics. Such systems could include tracking or large field of view microscopes in small animals, head-mounted mini scopes and fiber-based systems for mammalian models, -or non-optical methods;
iii) Neuroscience studies, using such tools to generate neurobehavioral datasets (ideally shareable with the community) and new biological findings;
iv) Perspective articles on the future possibilities of such systems are also welcome -including ones that discuss alternatives approaches;
v) Analysis pipelines and computational neuroscience frameworks exploiting the produced datasets, along with ways to integrate them with existing ( or future) knowledge and techniques.
Keywords: Brain Imaging, Behavioral Tracking, Quantitative Behavior, Neuronal Dynamics, Freely Moving
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.