Scott Laboratory: Neural Circuits and Behaviour

Research Overview

View Professor Scott's latest Google Scholar publications listing here


We aim to understand how sensory stimuli are perceived and processed in the brain, and how the brain then interprets these stimuli to produce adaptive behaviours.

Because of the brain’s extraordinary complexity, these questions are difficult to address by looking at individual cells. The flow of information through the brain relies on the coordinated activity of thousands or millions of cells, and on ensembles of neurons that are active simultaneously. For this reason, our research involves imaging activity in thousands of cells, and seeking salient patterns of activity across these populations. In a range of projects, we characterise the neurons and circuits that respond to various visual, auditory, water flow, and vestibular stimuli; that play a role in the integration of information from these modalities; and that filter sensory information to produce behaviour.

Image: Frequency map of brain

We work in the zebrafish model system because of its strengths in genetics, behaviour, microscopy, and optogenetics. Specifically, we use transgenic techniques to express genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) or optogenetic proteins in specific parts of the zebrafish brain. We then use selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) to observe the GECIs, which reveal activity across our cells and circuits. We also use optical physics to produce holograms in the brain for optogenetics in our larval fish.

Gradually, we aim to transition from describing patterns of activity in the brain to manipulating them in targeted ways, and to describing the structures and connectivity of the neurons carrying the information. This will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of brain function spanning cells, circuits, regions, and the brain as a whole.


  • Tim Karle, Research Fellow
  • Conrad Lee, ARC DECRA Fellow
  • Michelle Ma, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Etienne Mueller, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Wei Qin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Sarah Stednitz, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Anahita Ghanbari, Research Support Officer
  • Tessa Mancienne, PhD Student
  • Leandro Scholz, PhD Student
  • Maya Wilde, PhD Student


  • Prof. Dani Bassett, The University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr Itia Favre-Bulle, The University of Queensland
  • Assoc Prof. Ellen Hoffman, Yale University
  • Prof. Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, The University of Queensland
  • Asst Prof. Gilles Vanwalleghem, Aarhus University

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students, Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Researchers to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Systems Biology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Professor Ethan Scott

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

Unit / Centre

Scott Laboratory: Neural Circuits and Behaviour

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