Neural Circuitry and Behaviour Lab
Suresh Jesuthasan obtained an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA, in 1990. His interest in biology was spurred by two summers at the Hopkins Marine Biology station, in Monterey. He then went to Oxford University where he obtained a D. Phil. in Zoology, working in the laboratory of Julian Lewis. He also spent two summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, learning embryology. Suresh began learning neuroscience during a four-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany, in the department of Friedrich Bonhoeffer. He joined the NRP in 2009.
Current Lab Members
Post-doc: Ajay Sriram Mathuru
Graduate Student: Aletheia Lee
ARO: Caroline Kibat
Fear in the zebrafish
SCOPE OF ACTIVITIES: We are interested in the neural basis of emotion. We focus on innate fear, and all experiments are carried out using the zebrafish, a genetic model organism amenable to whole-brain imaging at single cell resolution.
The Alarm Response
In the 1930’s Karl von Frisch noticed that injury to a European minnow caused a fright reaction in other members of the fish school. He demonstrated that the skin contained substances, termed Schreckstoff, which act via the olfactory system to trigger a state of fear. The fish change their swimming behavior dramatically - either darting or freezing - in response to this alarm pheromone.
Subsequent experiments by other scientists established that many freshwater fish species have this response. All the classical hallmarks of fear, including physiological changes such as increase in blood cortisol levels, can be triggered by Schreckstoff.
We use the alarm response as a paradigm to investigate the basis for different expressions of fear.
[Movie : Please click here]
The zebrafish brain: Various ways of looking at activity and connectivity
The alarm response (movie): Zebrafish alter their swimming behaviour as skin extract is introduced into the tank.
Last Updated on 26 October 2009