February  2019 UWIN speaker Adam Calhoun

The February 2019 UWIN seminar features a talk by visiting speaker Adam Calhoun, who is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. His talk is titled “Quantitative methods to identify behavioral states”.

The seminar is on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 3:30 in Husky Union Building (HUB) 337. Refreshments will be served prior to the talk.


Animals must flexibly alter their responses to stimuli according to changing internal needs or behavioral contexts. This source of behavioral variability is often ignored because we lack of methods that are able to identify the changing internal state of an animal. To address this gap, we have developed a novel unsupervised method to identify internal states and have applied it to the study of a dynamic social interaction. During courtship, Drosophila melanogaster males chase and sing to females and, in a manner analogous to human conversation, the structure of their songs is actively patterned by interactions with the female. We identify the internal states of the male use this new model to identify neural correlates of state switching. Our results reveal how animals compose behavior from previously invisible states, a necessary step for quantitative descriptions of animal behavior that link environmental cues, internal needs, neuronal activity, and motor outputs.