CRC 1461

Advanced Training Module: "Quanolis" at CAU Kiel (Oct. 17 - 20, 2022)

Quanolis - A double-ATM (Oct. 17 - 20, 2022)

Quanolis (a hybrid of the German “Qualle” = jellyfish and Anolis) probably was the best marketed ATM so far. Therefore, it was no surprise that the four available spots were taken almost immediately. The participants were Rafael Ashrizzadeh (B2) Roshani Madurawala (C2), Maximiliane Noll (B1), and Folke Rolf (B3).

Quanolis was a joined effort by Jan Freiberg (A2) and Niels Röhrdanz (A3), both working at the Institute of Physiology (CAU, Kiel). Each of the two organizers contributed their own ATM of 8 hours split over 2 days. The organizers alternated their ATMs to keep the input more interesting for their participants.

Then Jan took off with the first half of his ATM “Identifying neuronal circuits in the visual system of T. cystophora”. The participants learned why the small box jellyfish used in the research of subproject A2 is such a good model organism, followed by an introduction into the basics of molecular biology. The latter included the micro-resection of sensory structures, the staining of specific pacemaker cells and RNA-probing.

On day two Niels started his ATM "Analyzing animal behaviour using deep learning algorithms" introducing another model organism used in project group A of the CRC 1461: an iguanian lizard of the genus Anolis. The participants learned how to organize a study on animal behavior by selecting behaviours of interest, but also being aware of flaws in human judgement when observing those behaviours. They were then introduced into the utilization of deep learning in object detection by implementing DeepLabCut, a toolbox for markerless pose estimation.

Day three was dedicated to box jellies again, more specifically to the methods enabling the participants to detect the pacemaker cells that have been stained on day one. Those methods include Tyramide signal amplification and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM). Furthermore, the participants learned how to generate their own RNA probe in SNAPGENE using data from orthologous genes, blasting against the NCBI database and ligating an amplicon into an expression plasmid.

On day four the ATM ended with Niels showing the participants how to process the data they had gathered on day two using the programming language Python.

All in all the ATM was a great success as it gave an understanding of techniques used in the fields of molecular biology and behavior analysis to participants working in bio-inspired system technology and neuromorphic engineering and therefore promoting the transdisciplinary understanding within the CRC 1461.