Neural Circuits and Metabolism

Perceptions and decisions depend on sensory impressions, but also on past experiences and the internal state of an animal. Behavior is therefore very adaptive and flexible. For instance, a hungry animal perceives the smell and taste of food as much more positive than a fed animal. At the same time, the hungry animal is willing to take a high risk in order to find food. Which signals and neural networks allow the communication between brain and body? And how do they modulate behavior?

We aim at answering these questions at three levels: (1) behavior, (2) neural networks, and (3) genes. To this end, we are using the genetic model system Drosophila melanogaster in combination with modern techniques such high resolution behavioral analysis, optogenetics, and in vivo multiphoton microscopy.