Optogenetic dissection of neural networks controlling locomotion in Drosophila melanogaster larvae

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Psychology


Rhythmic movements such as walking, swimming or chewing are not made from scratch by the brain each time, rather they are produced by dedicated "central pattern generators" which are activated by the brain. I study these networks in Drosophila using genetically-encoded calcium indicators to image neural activity across the whole ventral nerve cord (spinal cord) in real time. More specifically, I am currently investigating the role played by biogenic amines (such as dopamine and octopamine) in the biasing of the ventral nerve cord towards the selection of certain motor programs. Our lab has an integrative approach, making use of calcium imaging, genetic manipulations, electrophysiology, pharmacology and behavioural experiments to study the system from many different angles.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M010996/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1913491 Studentship BB/M010996/1 27/09/2016 31/05/2021 James MacLeod