Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology
Our interest concerns the olfactory processing of chemical information. We use the model system Drosophila melanogaster. This system has several advantages that are the comparative simple morphology of the olfactory system, the known genome sequence, the enormous pool of available mutants and finally the relatively comfortable culturing conditions.
The main interest of our work is focused on ,,olfactory coding" that is how the chemical information is transformed into an electrophysiological signal and how this signal will be interpreted in the central brain to allow specific olfactory behavior?
The projects therefore cover the spectrum from functional properties of a single gene to the analyses of gene dependent changed behavior. A variety of different methods are used to reach the aforementioned aims. These include molecular biological techniques as well as genetical and behavioral methods. We also use electrophysiological measurements to demonstrate in vivo olfactory activity on the antenna as the primary olfactory organ of the fly. Furthermore, we are about to set up a system to perform calcium imaging in the central brain. With the help of transgenic flies calcium fluorescent dyes can be expressed cell specifically in specific regions of the fly brain. This should give us more detailed information about the processing of olfactory information within the brain.
Scientific projects will be based on our recent finding in which we show olfactory function for one of the putative olfactory receptors. With this system we want to elucidate the neuronal connectivity in the responsible brain regions. Thereby we will receive detailed information about principle steps in the neuronal processing of olfactory information.