How does the nervous system develop in order to perform a large array of distinct functions?
Research project in our lab is centered on this basic biological question.
Since the brain is by far the most complex of all organ systems we use different 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.
- While Drosophila research is strong with molecular genetics, we are extending our investigations towards non-model systems. These include the ant Cardiocondyla obscurior as well as the Acoel worm species Isodiametra pulrchra and Symsagittifera roscoffensis. These animal species are extremely exciting in view of their biology and phylogenetic position.