I'm doing some independent research with the C Elegans nervous system (with the OpenWorm project) and was looking for some guidance as to where I should go next.

Right now, I'm dealing with calcium fluorescence imaging time series datasets for a subset of neurons in C Elegans. Here are my five time series clustered by similarity: enter image description here

and here are correlation matrices for the neurons across the datasets: enter image description here

There are obvious patterns here.

I have many vague ideas of where to go next, but I'm wondering if anyone with more expertise can provide some guidance as to what approaches I can take to:

  • Look at this data in the context of known C Elegans neuronal connectivity
  • Trying to reconstruct connectivity from functional data (develop an algorithm for this, not a simple task)
  • Understand why certain correlations exist
  • Look at computations occurring among neurons in these datasets and isolate computational building blocks
  • Developing a minimal network model for C Elegans.
  • Understanding information flow

I'm overwhelmed by all of these ideas and need some guidance/a concrete starting point.

  • $\begingroup$ What is your worm background? For example, you mention constructing a connectivity network (or something like that), but the synaptic connections of all of these neurons has been known since 1986, based on serial electron micrographs. It seems like the names of the neurons is the same in all five datasets, their order in the figures is changing between $\endgroup$ – mdperry Apr 22 '16 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ 1) I'm aware we have a connectome and I have read lots of literature analyzing the static connectome. I'm interested in looking at functional data in the context of the connectome. One approach I had in mind is trying to develop an algorithm for reconstructing connectivity from functional data with the intention of attempting to develop a theory relating the two or to just get insight relating static graph characteristics to dynamics.2)The reason the neuron names change order between figures is because neurons are clustered differently in the different datasets, leading to different orderings. $\endgroup$ – theideasmith Apr 22 '16 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it wouldn't let me edit my typo. What is the difference between the five datasets, in other words, what are the worms doing, crawling, eating, defecating, egg-laying, etc.? How any animals are being assayed in each dataset? Have you tried making a figure for each neuron, to compare how each one behaves in all five conditions? $\endgroup$ – mdperry Apr 22 '16 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ This data was obtained from Saul Kato for his paper "Global Brain Dynamics Embed Motor Command Sequence of C Elegans". I'm able to infer movement patterns based on his results in the paper. Nevertheless, I don't have access currently to actual behavioral data. $\endgroup$ – theideasmith Apr 22 '16 at 5:17

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