Larisa Neagu-Maier

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Taste is crucial for animal survival, important for avoiding poisonous food ingestion and for adaptation to diverse ecological niches. Studies of taste sensing in Drosophila are relevant for answering questions about signal transduction of different taste modalities at the peripheral level and about how sensory information is encoded and integrated in the central nervous system and further translated into behavior. My work is focused on investigating taste coding principles in Drosophila larval gustatory neurons. Physiological changes are recorded with a custom-made microfluidics chip that allows in vivo calcium imaging of sensory neurons. We established a method for data analysis that supports simultaneous measurements in all neurons of the larval taste organ, enabling analysis and comparison of global responses to different tastants.