dFoxP as a key component of the operant self-learning mechanism

The Forkhead Box P2 (FoxP2) is a gene known for its importance in the developing of speech and language in humans, and, more widely, for modulating the neural circuits involved in vocal learning in vertebrates. By studying the Drosophila FoxP orthologue, dFoxP, it has been possible to extend this important role to another form of […]

Dopamine neuronal populations involved in reward and punishment

The first stage consisted in the establishment of an optogenetic model of Drosophila. For this we wanted to gain insights into the method by performing different experiments in order to optimize several parameters (nutritive ATR concentration, light types, light intensity and additional material). Once this was achieved, we wanted to characterize the dopaminergic neurons coding […]

Temperature impact on light preference

Light and temperature have a broad impact on physiology and behavior. However, how these sensory modalities interact, e.g., how changes in one of them affect the preference for the other one, remains unknown. The idea of the current project is to study how temperature could alter phototactic preference, and uncover the neuronal circuit that process […]

Hide if you can’t fly? Behavioral flexibility in Drosophila

Flies that are able to fly respond very differently to visual stimuli than flies which have been experimentally manipulated to not be able to fly: what are the neural mechanisms underlying this flexibility?

Does starvation-resistance in flies without octopamine explain differences in sucrose response?

Biogenic amines are involved in almost all biological processes. They modulate perception, motivation and locomotion. The fruit fly Drosophila is an ideal model system to tease apart the neuronal populations mediating the aminergic effects. Using Drosophila neurogenetics, we are beginning to characterize the octopaminergic subpopulations involved in walking speed and in the motivation of sugar responsiveness.

Understanding the role of the Radish protein

The Radish gene product is an enigmatic protein with no known function or homology. This bioinformatics approach aims to bring some light into this mystery and find out what this gene is doing.

The what and where of operant self-learning

Protein Kinase C (PKC) has recently been shown to be specifically involved in operant self-learning, but not in other forms of operant learning or in classical learning. This project aims to identify the neural circuits in the fly brain where PKC is required during operant self-learning.

The neurobiology of spontaneous flight behavior in Drosophila

Testing fruit flies for their spontaneous turning behavior in tethered flight.

Proteomics of methylphenidate treatment of radish mutant and wildtype flies

We treat fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) with Ritalin and test for the behavioral effects of the drug. In a collaboration with Daniela Dieterich from the Leibniz Institut for Neurobiology in Magdeburg we also investigate the change in protein expression after the drug treatment.

Using R to analyze data from Buridan’s paradigm

In Buridan’s paradigm, wingless flies walk on a platform surrounded by water. We developed fly tracking software, data evaluation software and made the whole package available under an open source license.