Motor control and Reproductive Behaviour-

Behavioural Genetics and Circuit Neuroscience

We study how the brain controls and structures adaptive behaviour, at the level of genes, neurons and neuronal circuits. Our main areas of research are motor control and the neurobiology of reproduction.

We are interested in the multifunctionality of neuro-muscular systems, the mechanisms of motor pattern generation during sex-specific acoustic communication, as well as context dependent action selection and behavioural hierarchy.

Further, we are investigating the signalling axis between the nervous system and reproductive organs, the neuronal coordination of reproductive physiology, and the efferent and afferent control of copulation and insemination.

Our model system is Drosophila, which shows a rich set of fascinating innate and experience dependent sexual behaviours. It’s small and relatively stereotyped nervous system, a rich genetic toolbox and rapid developments in the field of Drosophila EM based connectomics offer an ideal starting point for mechanistic understanding of development and function circuits and their context dependent modulation.

We use live imaging, optogenetic activation and silencing in intact animals, anatomical reconstructions and manipulation of neuronal activity and gene expression of identifiable neurons in combination with behavioural assays.