Portugues, Ruben

The Portugues lab studies how the brain generates behavior. This requires understanding what features of the environment are behaviorally relevant, how the brain is tuned to respond to them, what mechanisms are in place to select appropriate actions and how learning can lead to improved interactions between the animal and its environment. We mainly use the larval zebrafish, a small vertebrate, as a model organism.
We use a highly multidisciplinary approach that uses behavior, functional calcium imaging (both 2-photon and light-sheet microscopy), optogenetics, electrophysiology, computational and theoretical methods to dissect these questions across scales that range from a single neuron to the 100,000 neurons that comprise the whole brain of zebrafish larvae.

Selected publications:
Markov DA, Petrucco L, Kist AM, Portugues, R (2021). “A cerebellar internal model calibrates a feedback controller involved in sensorimotor control.” Nature Communications, in press.

Yildizoglu T, Riegler C, Fitzgerald JE*, Portugues R* (2020). “A Neural Representation of Naturalistic Motion-Guided Behavior in the Zebrafish Brain.” Current Biology 30 (12), 2321-2333.

Dragomir EI, Štih V, Portugues R (2020). “Evidence accumulation during a sensorimotor decision task revealed by whole-brain imaging”. Nature Neuroscience. 2020; (23) 85-93.

Kist AM, Portugues R (2019). “Optomotor swimming in larval zebrafish is sriven by global whole-field visual motion and local light-dark transitions.” Cell Reports, 29 (3), 659-670.

Štih V*, Petrucco L*, Kist AM, Portugues R (2019). “Stytra: An open-source, integrated system for stimulation, tracking and closed-loop behavioral experiments”. PLOS Computational Biology, 15 (4), e1006699.

Knogler LD, Kist AM, Portugues R (2019). "Motor context dominates output from purkinje cell functional regions during reflexive visuomotor behaviours". eLife. 2019: e42138.

Knogler LD, Markov AD, Dragomir EI, Štih V, Portugues R (2017). "Sensorimotor representations in cerebellar granule cells in larval zebrafish are dense, spatially organized, and non-temporally patterned". Current Biology. 2017; 27(9): 1288-1302.

Oteiza P, Odstrcil I, Lauder G, Portugues R, Engert F(2017). "A novel mechanism for mechanosensory-based rheotaxis in larval zebrafish". Nature. 2017: 547(7664): 445-448.

Portugues R, Feierstein CE, Engert F, Orger MB (2014). "Whole-brain activity maps reveal stereotyped, distributed networks for visuomotor behavior". Neuron. 2014; 81(6): 1328-1343.

Severi KE*, Portugues R*#, Marques JC, O'Malley DM, Orger MB, Engert F# (2014). “Neural control and modulation of swimming speed in the larval zebrafish.” Neuron 83 (3), 692-707.

Ahrens MB, Li JM, Orger MB, Robson DN, Schier AF, Engert F, Portugues R (2012). Brain-wide neuronal dynamics during motor adaptation in zebrafish. Nature 485: 471-477.


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