A Small Fish in a Big Question

The questions pursued by Eva Naumann’s research team are nearly as large and intricate as the brain itself: How does the entire brain transform sensory inputs into actions, and what neural pathways do these impulses travel?

Even in the relatively small brain of the 3-millimeter translucent larval zebrafish she studies, it’s a question that involves ridiculous levels of complexity. For comparison, our human brain contains 86 billion neurons, whereas the zebrafish contains a manageable 100,000. Naumann’s goal is to map the ways these neurons functionally connect to each other to produce thoughts and behavior in this relatively tiny vertebrate brain.

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