Motion-capture technology assists in neuroscience studies

By Liz Fuller-Wright

Bringing Hollywood motion-capture techniques to the laboratory, a new technology can automatically track animals’ body parts in video to measure the behavior of animals with genetic mutations or following drug treatments, according to principal investigators Mala Murthy, professor of neuroscience, and Joshua Shaevitz, professor of physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. “This is a flexible tool that can in principle be used on any video data,” said Talmo Pereira, a graduate student in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and the first author on the study, which appeared in the January 2019 issue of the journal Nature Methods. The software began as the senior thesis project of Diego Aldarondo of the Class of 2018. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.