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Robert Hinz

In 2009, I received the diplom (the German degree equivalent to a MSc) in theoretical physics from the Freie Universität Berlin. For my final project, which I did in the group of Prof. Dr. Schöll at the Technische Universität Berlin, I studied transient effects in dynamical systems with a feedback. The research area of this group encompasses the investigation of the dynamics of networks and neural systems, both theoretically and by computer simulations.

In October 2009, I came to Madrid to start my PhD in the group of Gonzalo de Polavieja. This not only meant a change of place but also a turn from theoretical physics towards applied biophysics.

The focus of my actual project lies on the investigation of the behaviour of vertebrates and the involved neural processes using the zebrafish danio rerio as a model organism. This animal has (amongst many other things) been used to study the collective movement of fish swarms. Moreover, diverse techniques exist to monitor neural activity in the zebrafish larva. We try to combine these two research areas, finding the neural circuits involved in the decision process of individual fish and discovering how the taken decisions finally facilitate the observed concerted group behaviour. To this end, I am in a first step studying the onset and evolution of collective behaviour during the transition from larva to adult zebrafish.