ZFIN ID: ZDB-LAB-070419-2
Engert Lab
PI/Director: Engert, Florian
Contact Person: Engert, Florian
Email: florian@mcb.harvard.edu
URL: http://www.mcb.harvard.edu/Faculty/Engert.html
Address: Molecular and Cellular Biology Harvard University
Country: United States
Phone: 617 4954382
Line Designation: a

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We are interested in how visual signals are processed in the larval fish brain and how these signals ultimately lead to specific behaviors of the animal.
To that end we have developed a series of quantitative assays for analysing visually induced behaviors in the fish and we combine that with various methods of recording and manipulating neuronal activity in the awake animals.


Wee, C.L., Song, E., Nikitchenko, M., Herrera, K.J., Wong, S., Engert, F., Kunes, S. (2022) Social isolation modulates appetite and avoidance behavior via a common oxytocinergic circuit in larval zebrafish. Nature communications. 13:2573
Harpaz, R., Aspiras, A.C., Chambule, S., Tseng, S., Bind, M.A., Engert, F., Fishman, M.C., Bahl, A. (2021) Collective behavior emerges from genetically controlled simple behavioral motifs in zebrafish. Science advances. 7:eabi7460
Chen, A.B., Deb, D., Bahl, A., Engert, F. (2021) Algorithms underlying flexible phototaxis in larval zebrafish. The Journal of experimental biology. 224(10):
Juan-García, A., Juan, C., Bind, M.A., Engert, F. (2021) Study of locomotion response and development in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos and larvae exposed to enniatin A, enniatin B, and beauvericin. The Science of the total environment. 777:146075
Guggiana Nilo, D.A., Riegler, C., Hübener, M., Engert, F. (2021) Distributed chromatic processing at the interface between retina and brain in the larval zebrafish. Current biology : CB. 31(9):1945-1953.e5
Venincasa, M.J., Randlett, O., Sumathipala, S.H., Bindernagel, R., Stark, M.J., Yan, Q., Sloan, S.A., Buglo, E., Meng, Q.C., Engert, F., Züchner, S., Kelz, M.B., Syed, S., Dallman, J.E. (2021) Elevated preoptic brain activity in zebrafish glial glycine transporter mutants is linked to lethargy-like behaviors and delayed emergence from anesthesia. Scientific Reports. 11:3148
Herrera, K.J., Panier, T., Guggiana-Nilo, D., Engert, F. (2020) Larval Zebrafish Use Olfactory Detection of Sodium and Chloride to Avoid Salt Water. Current biology : CB. 31(4):782-793.e3
Engert, F. (2020) Neuromodulation: How Dopaminergic Neurons Shape and Modulate Behavior. Current biology : CB. 30:R1422-R1425
Juan-García, A., Bind, M.A., Engert, F. (2020) Larval zebrafish as an in vitro model for evaluating toxicological effects of mycotoxins. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety. 202:110909
Lin, Q., Manley, J., Helmreich, M., Schlumm, F., Li, J.M., Robson, D.N., Engert, F., Schier, A., Nöbauer, T., Vaziri, A. (2020) Cerebellar Neurodynamics Predict Decision Timing and Outcome on the Single-Trial Level. Cell. 180(3):536-551.e17
Johnson, R.E., Linderman, S., Panier, T., Wee, C.L., Song, E., Herrera, K.J., Miller, A., Engert, F. (2019) Probabilistic Models of Larval Zebrafish Behavior Reveal Structure on Many Scales. Current biology : CB. 30(1):70-82.e4
Bahl, A., Engert, F. (2019) Neural circuits for evidence accumulation and decision making in larval zebrafish. Nature Neuroscience. 23(1):94-102
Bolton, A.D., Haesemeyer, M., Jordi, J., Schaechtle, U., Saad, F.A., Mansinghka, V.K., Tenenbaum, J.B., Engert, F. (2019) Elements of a stochastic 3D prediction engine in larval zebrafish prey capture. eLIFE. 8:
Wee, C.L., Song, E.Y., Johnson, R.E., Ailani, D., Randlett, O., Kim, J.Y., Nikitchenko, M., Bahl, A., Yang, C.T., Ahrens, M.B., Kawakami, K., Engert, F., Kunes, S. (2019) A bidirectional network for appetite control in larval zebrafish. eLIFE. 8:
Wee, C.L., Nikitchenko, M., Wang, W.C., Luks-Morgan, S.J., Song, E., Gagnon, J.A., Randlett, O., Bianco, I.H., Lacoste, A.M.B., Glushenkova, E., Barrios, J.P., Schier, A.F., Kunes, S., Engert, F., Douglass, A.D. (2019) Zebrafish oxytocin neurons drive nocifensive behavior via brainstem premotor targets. Nature Neuroscience. 22(9):1477-1492
Haesemeyer, M., Schier, A.F., Engert, F. (2019) Convergent Temperature Representations in Artificial and Biological Neural Networks. Neuron. 103(6):1123-1134.e6
Randlett, O., Haesemeyer, M., Forkin, G., Shoenhard, H., Schier, A.F., Engert, F., Granato, M. (2019) Distributed Plasticity Drives Visual Habituation Learning in Larval Zebrafish. Current biology : CB. 29(8):1337-1345.e4
Chen, X., Mu, Y., Hu, Y., Kuan, A.T., Nikitchenko, M., Randlett, O., Chen, A.B., Gavornik, J.P., Sompolinsky, H., Engert, F., Ahrens, M.B. (2018) Brain-wide Organization of Neuronal Activity and Convergent Sensorimotor Transformations in Larval Zebrafish. Neuron. 100:876-890.e5
Jordi, J., Guggiana-Nilo, D., Bolton, A.D., Prabha, S., Ballotti, K., Herrera, K., Rennekamp, A.J., Peterson, R.T., Lutz, T.A., Engert, F. (2018) High-throughput screening for selective appetite modulators: A multibehavioral and translational drug discovery strategy. Science advances. 4:eaav1966
Swinburne, I.A., Mosaliganti, K.R., Upadhyayula, S., Liu, T.L., Hildebrand, D.G.C., Tsai, T.Y., Chen, A., Al-Obeidi, E., Fass, A.K., Malhotra, S., Engert, F., Lichtman, J.W., Kirchausen, T., Betzig, E., Megason, S.G. (2018) Lamellar projections in the endolymphatic sac act as a relief valve to regulate inner ear pressure. eLIFE. 7
Haesemeyer, M., Robson, D.N., Li, J.M., Schier, A.F., Engert, F. (2018) A Brain-wide Circuit Model of Heat-Evoked Swimming Behavior in Larval Zebrafish. Neuron. 98(4):817-831.e6
Piatkevich, K.D., Jung, E.E., Straub, C., Linghu, C., Park, D., Suk, H.J., Hochbaum, D.R., Goodwin, D., Pnevmatikakis, E., Pak, N., Kawashima, T., Yang, C.T., Rhoades, J.L., Shemesh, O., Asano, S., Yoon, Y.G., Freifeld, L., Saulnier, J.L., Riegler, C., Engert, F., Hughes, T., Drobizhev, M., Szabo, B., Ahrens, M.B., Flavell, S.W., Sabatini, B.L., Boyden, E.S. (2018) A robotic multidimensional directed evolution approach applied to fluorescent voltage reporters. Nature Chemical Biology. 14(4):352-360
Freifeld, L., Odstrcil, I., Förster, D., Ramirez, A., Gagnon, J.A., Randlett, O., Costa, E.K., Asano, S., Celiker, O.T., Gao, R., Martin-Alarcon, D.A., Reginato, P., Dick, C., Chen, L., Schoppik, D., Engert, F., Baier, H., Boyden, E.S. (2017) Expansion microscopy of zebrafish for neuroscience and developmental biology studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114(50):E10799-E10808
Schoppik, D., Bianco, I.H., Prober, D.A., Douglass, A.D., Robson, D.N., Li, J.M.B., Greenwood, J.S.F., Soucy, E., Engert, F., Schier, A.F. (2017) Gaze-stabilizing central vestibular neurons project asymmetrically to extraocular motoneuron pools. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 37(47):11353-11365
Oteiza, P., Odstrcil, I., Lauder, G., Portugues, R., Engert, F. (2017) Erratum: A novel mechanism for mechanosensory-based rheotaxis in larval zebrafish. Nature. 549:292
Oteiza, P., Odstrcil, I., Lauder, G., Portugues, R., Engert, F. (2017) A novel mechanism for mechanosensory-based rheotaxis in larval zebrafish. Nature. 547(7664):445-448
Hildebrand, D.G.C., Cicconet, M., Torres, R.M., Choi, W., Quan, T.M., Moon, J., Wetzel, A.W., Scott Champion, A., Graham, B.J., Randlett, O., Plummer, G.S., Portugues, R., Bianco, I.H., Saalfeld, S., Baden, A.D., Lillaney, K., Burns, R., Vogelstein, J.T., Schier, A.F., Lee, W.A., Jeong, W.K., Lichtman, J.W., Engert, F. (2017) Whole-brain serial-section electron microscopy in larval zebrafish. Nature. 545(7654):345-349
Naumann, E.A., Fitzgerald, J.E., Dunn, T.W., Rihel, J., Sompolinsky, H., Engert, F. (2016) From Whole-Brain Data to Functional Circuit Models: The Zebrafish Optomotor Response. Cell. 167:947-960.e20
Guggiana-Nilo, D.A., Engert, F. (2016) Properties of the Visible Light Phototaxis and UV Avoidance Behaviors in the Larval Zebrafish. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience. 10:160
Dunn, T.W., Mu, Y., Narayan, S., Randlett, O., Naumann, E.A., Yang, C.T., Schier, A.F., Freeman, J., Engert, F., Ahrens, M.B. (2016) Brain-wide mapping of neural activity controlling zebrafish exploratory locomotion. eLIFE. 5:e12741
Dunn, T.W., Gebhardt, C., Naumann, E.A., Riegler, C., Ahrens, M.B., Engert, F., Del Bene, F. (2016) Neural Circuits Underlying Visually Evoked Escapes in Larval Zebrafish. Neuron. 89(3):613-28
Haesemeyer, M., Robson, D.N., Li, J.M., Schier, A.F., Engert, F. (2015) The structure and timescales of heat perception in larval zebrafish. Cell systems. 1:338-348
Randlett, O., Wee, C.L., Naumann, E.A., Nnaemeka, O., Schoppik, D., Fitzgerald, J.E., Portugues, R., Lacoste, A.M., Riegler, C., Engert, F., Schier, A.F. (2015) Whole-brain activity mapping onto a zebrafish brain atlas. Nature Methods. 12:1039-1046
Jordi, J., Guggiana-Nilo, D., Soucy, E., Song, E.Y., Wee, C.L., Engert, F. (2015) A high-throughput assay for quantifying appetite and digestive dynamics. American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology. 309(4):R345-57
Lacoste, A.M., Schoppik, D., Robson, D.N., Haesemeyer, M., Portugues, R., Li, J.M., Randlett, O., Wee, C.L., Engert, F., Schier, A.F. (2015) A Convergent and Essential Interneuron Pathway for Mauthner-Cell-Mediated Escapes. Current biology : CB. 25(11):1526-34
Portugues, R., Haesemeyer, M., Blum, M.L., Engert, F. (2015) Whole-field visual motion drives swimming in larval zebrafish via a stochastic process. The Journal of experimental biology. 218(Pt 9):1433-43
Bianco, I.H., Engert, F. (2015) Visuomotor Transformations Underlying Hunting Behavior in Zebrafish. Current biology : CB. 25(7):831-46
Hou, J.H., Kralj, J.M., Douglass, A.D., Engert, F., Cohen, A.E. (2014) Simultaneous mapping of membrane voltage and calcium in zebrafish heart in vivo reveals chamber-specific developmental transitions in ionic currents. Frontiers in Physiology. 5:344
Severi, K.E., Portugues, R., Marques, J.C., O'Malley, D.M., Orger, M.B., Engert, F. (2014) Neural Control and Modulation of Swimming Speed in the Larval Zebrafish. Neuron. 83(3):692-707
Chen, X., Engert, F. (2014) Navigational strategies underlying phototaxis in larval zebrafish. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 8:39
Portugues, R., Feierstein, C.E., Engert, F., Orger, M.B. (2014) Whole-brain activity maps reveal stereotyped, distributed networks for visuomotor behavior. Neuron. 81:1328-43
Huang, K.H., Ahrens, M.B., Dunn, T.W., and Engert, F. (2013) Spinal Projection Neurons Control Turning Behaviors in Zebrafish. Current biology : CB. 23(16):1566-73
Ahrens, M.B., Huang, K.H., Narayan, S., Mensh, B.D., and Engert, F. (2013) Two-photon calcium imaging during fictive navigation in virtual environments. Frontiers in neural circuits. 7:104
Kokel, D., Dunn, T.W., Ahrens, M.B., Alshut, R., Cheung, C.Y., Saint-Amant, L., Bruni, G., Mateus, R., van Ham, T.J., Shiraki, T., Fukada, Y., Kojima, D., Yeh, J.R., Mikut, R., von Lintig, J., Engert, F., and Peterson, R.T. (2013) Identification of Nonvisual Photomotor Response Cells in the Vertebrate Hindbrain. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 33(9):3834-3843
Engert, F. (2013) Fish in the matrix: motor learning in a virtual world. Frontiers in neural circuits. 6:125
Akerboom, J., Chen, T.W., Wardill, T.J., Tian, L., Marvin, J.S., Mutlu, S., Calderón, N.C., Esposti, F., Borghuis, B.G., Sun, X.R., Gordus, A., Orger, M.B., Portugues, R., Engert, F., Macklin, J.J., Filosa, A., Aggarwal, A., Kerr, R.A., Takagi, R., Kracun, S., Shigetomi, E., Khakh, B.S., Baier, H., Lagnado, L., Wang, S.S., Bargmann, C.I., Kimmel, B.E., Jayaraman, V., Svoboda, K., Kim, D.S., Schreiter, E.R., and Looger, L.L. (2012) Optimization of a GCaMP Calcium Indicator for Neural Activity Imaging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 32(40):13819-13840
Grama, A., and Engert, F. (2012) Direction selectivity in the larval zebrafish tectum is mediated by asymmetric inhibition. Frontiers in neural circuits. 6:59
Bianco, I.H., Ma, L.H., Schoppik, D., Robson, D.N., Orger, M.B., Beck, J.C., Li, J.M., Schier, A.F., Engert, F., and Baker, R. (2012) The Tangential Nucleus Controls a Gravito-inertial Vestibulo-ocular Reflex. Current biology : CB. 22(14):1285-1295
Ahrens, M.B., Li, J.M., Orger, M.B., Robson, D.N., Schier, A.F., Engert, F., and Portugues, R. (2012) Brain-wide neuronal dynamics during motor adaptation in zebrafish. Nature. 485(7399):471-477
Valente, A., Huang, K.H., Portugues, R., and Engert, F. (2012) Ontogeny of classical and operant learning behaviors in zebrafish. Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.). 19:170-177
Engert, F., and Wilson, S. (2012) Zebrafish neurobiology: From development to circuit function and behaviour. Developmental Neurobiology. 72(3):215-217
Bianco, I.H., Kampff, A.R., and Engert, F. (2011) Prey capture behavior evoked by simple visual stimuli in larval zebrafish. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 2011(5):101
Portugues, R., and Engert, F. (2011) Adaptive locomotor behavior in larval zebrafish. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 5:72
Naumann, E.A., Kampff, A.R., Prober, D.A., Schier, A.F., and Engert, F. (2010) Monitoring neural activity with bioluminescence during natural behavior. Nature Neuroscience. 13(4):513-520
Portugues, R., and Engert, F. (2009) The neural basis of visual behaviors in the larval zebrafish. Current opinion in neurobiology. 19(6):644-647
Ramdya, P., and Engert, F. (2008) Emergence of binocular functional properties in a monocular neural circuit. Nature Neuroscience. 11(9):1083-1090
Douglass, A.D., Kraves, S., Deisseroth, K., Schier, A.F., and Engert, F. (2008) Escape behavior elicited by single, channelrhodopsin-2-evoked spikes in zebrafish somatosensory neurons. Current biology : CB. 18(15):1133-1137
Orger, M.B., Kampff, A.R., Severi, K.E., Bollmann, J.H., and Engert, F. (2008) Control of visually guided behavior by distinct populations of spinal projection neurons. Nature Neuroscience. 11(3):327-333
Ramdya, P., Reiter, B., and Engert, F. (2006) Reverse correlation of rapid calcium signals in the zebrafish optic tectum in vivo. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 157(2):230-237