Research project in the Sprecher lab is focussed on two fundamental questions in neuroscience:
1) How the large diversity of cell types in the nervous system is genetically achieved during development, and …
2) …how do these cells, in the assemble of the nervous system, achieve their function for simple or complex behaviours.
Since the brain is by far the most complex of all organ systems we use combine techniques and models to study nervous system development and function:
- The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and its genetic tools by hand provides an excellent model system to gain insight into the development and function of the nervous system.
- We combine molecular genetics, invivo and invitro genetic manipulations, neuronal circuit analysis, confocal microscopy, serial electron microscopy with behavioral paradigms such as automated tracking, learning and memory and activity monitoring to assess stress-resistance, sleep or life-span.
- To explore the generality of common principles in neuroscience and developmental biology we include studies on other animal species, in particularly focusing common evolutionary principles in nervous system organization and development. These include the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, the Acoel worm species Isodiametra pulrchra and Symsagittifera roscoffensis as well as the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. We develop molecular tools for the questions we investigate in these species.