Josiane Da Silva Freitas

Josiane Da Silva Freitas

Doctoral Student

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Research

I’ve always been curious about how the world works. My love for Biology started early, with hours of observation of animals, trying to understand why and how they do what they do. From insects to birds, everything caught my attention.

During my Bachelor’s degree I did internships in the fields of marine Biology and environmental education before started with Neuroscience. My first Neuroscience project involved studying the effects of Ginkgo biloba on adult rat’s neurogenesis.

I have obtained a Master’s degree in Psychobiology (at the University of São Paulo, Brazil) using a computational Neuroscience approach. I utilized realistic computational models (multi-compartmental models of neurons) to understand the effects of epilepsy in hippocampus neurons. This new area opened my mind for a variety of new tools available to understand the brain. Interdisciplinarity is an amazing thing because you can find different, complementary ways to solve the same problem.

Now in Lund I’m starting to use insects as a model to study neurons during my PhD studies. How do insect neurons behave and process information?

Bees are amazing insects, they can perceive so many things in the environment that we can’t see, combine everything in a very small brain to make the right decisions and execute complex tasks. How can a small brain be so efficient? How do these neurons work together to produce behavior?

My project will use navigation behavior and navigation decisions as a model for how these brains compute behavioral output from sensory information in a brain region called the central complex. A sub-region of the central complex (the upper division of the central body, CBU) is well-suited to integrate the bee’s current movement direction with information from the environment that define its navigational goals. What type of stimuli are received by this structure, and how does their internal representation change when they become behaviorally relevant to the bees?

To understand the underlying neural mechanisms of how behavioral relevance affects the computation of navigational goals I will use intracellular electrophysiology, 3D neuroanatomy, connectomics, behavior and computational modeling as tools at level of single neurons.

UKÄ subject classification

  • Zoology

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