The neural basis of action and learning

In our lab, we study how brains generate spontaneous behavior, how they evaluate the sensory feedback from these actions and how different states of the animal influence the way these processes take place.


Our various research projects are motivated by the general insight that brains are active organs: rather than passively responding to external stimuli, brains actively initiate behaviors to probe the environment and then evaluate its response in order to gain the maximum amount of control.


Because we believe these to be very fundamental aspects of general brain function, common to all brains, we study the nervous system of invertebrates, mainly the fruit fly Drosophila . We test wild type, mutant and transgenic flies in various behavioral paradigms for deficits in spontaneous behavior, operant learning, attention-like processes, decision-making, motivation or motor control.


Until October 2012 our lab was located in the Institute of Biology of the Freie Universität Berlin in Berlin-Dahlem, Germany. Below a picture of all the lab members (click for a larger version):

Rear, from the left: Björn BrembsJulien Colomb, Neloy Chakroborty, Yasmine Graf,

Front, from the left: Madeleine-Marie Gilles, Sathishkumar Raja, Christine Damrau, Victoria Antemann, Hildegard Hopp,

Missing: Denise Bock, Lucie Dietrich

We are now in the process of moving the lab to the University of Regensburg.

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