Neuronal Control of Behavior

Research priorities

Neuronal control of behaviour

The central goal of this research focus is to understand the principles of behavior. Behavior results from a complex interplay between endogenous and exogenous factors and ultimately determines the interaction of animals with their environment. Research groups in this focus investigate various aspects of behavior at different levels - from genes, molecules, neurons, physiology and the brain to behavioral patterns and their evolutionary origin. The groups mainly focus on insect models, in particular Drosophila and social insects like ants and bees. The central goal of this research focus is to understand fundamental principles underlying the control of behavior, from simple patterns like locomotion, feeding, phototaxis and olfactory orientation to higher order processes like learning, memory, cognition, social interactions and their evolutionary origin. Another focus of interest is the circadian modulation of behavior. Within the Biocenter, modern techniques for quantitative behavioral analyses like functional imaging, electrophysiology, high-resolution microscopy, biophysical and/or computer-aided registrations are combined with cutting-edge biochemical, genetic and molecular methods. Many groups are associated with the DFG collaborative research center (SFB 1047) ‘Insect timing: mechanisms, plasticity and interactions’, a consortium focusing on timing aspects in the control of behavior.