E. Axel Gorostiza
My first research experience was as an undergraduate under the supervision of Dr. Fernanda Ceriani (Fundación Instituto Leloir, Argentina) I characterized the behavior of a Drosophila melanogaster neurodegenerative mutant. In 2008 I graduated as a Biologist specialized in animal physiology at the University of Buenos Aires, and started my PhD research at Dr. Ceriani Lab. I studied the development of the PDF circuit, the main pacemaker circuit in D. melanogaster. As a parallel project I investigated circadian changes in the complexity of the dorsal arborizations of the PDF circuit. In July 2013, I started my postdoc at Dr. Brembs Lab on a project called “Hide if you can't fly? Behavioral flexibility in Drosophila”. Briefly, we think that even simple behaviors, such as taxis, have a central decision-making stage which is influenced by a number of physiological and environmental variables that are continually monitored. Evidence from a range of model organisms suggests that these simple behaviors in invertebrate species are generated by the nervous system using complex online evaluation and decision-making algorithms. To address these issues, we plan to study phototaxis in Drosophila, which we think provides a compelling and technically very accessible avenue towards a general understanding of adaptive behavioral choice, commonly studied in complex decision-making situations in higher animals.