Pauline Fritsch

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I am a PhD student with a background in neurobiology and Drosophila genetics. I am interested in how visual memories are mediated in Drosophila larvae. Indeed larvae are able to associate positive or negative cues with light or darkness, thus changing their naïve light avoidance behavior (light as conditioned stimulus). It was shown that light can also be used as an unconditioned stimulus (punishment) notably in olfactory classical conditioning. (von Essen et al. 2011) Moreover, recent data (unpublished) show that maggot are also able to form a non-associative type of memory using visual inputs: light habituation. Thus, Drosophila larvae can establish at least three kinds of visual memories suggesting the involvement of different neuronal circuits. However these circuits remain largely unknown. Therefore I am establishing an automated tracking setup allowing highly detailed analysis throughout learning experiments. Combine with genetic tools, this will be a powerful setup to analyse the neuronal circuits involved here. Additionally I am investigating the importance of neurotransmitters in these processes, notably on Dopamine, Octopamine, Glutamate and GABA which have all been shown to be essential for olfactory memories.