Systems Biology


Sensory Systems and Behaviour

This group is part of the EMBL/CRG Research Unit in Systems Biology

Matthieu Louis
Mariana Lopez-Matas
Daeyeon Kim; Elena Knoche, Sam Reid, Nicole Voges
Andreas Braun; Ajinkya Deogade, Elie Fink; Avinash Khandelwal, Aljoscha Schulze; Ibrahim Tastekin


Illustrative figure

The research interest of our group focuses on the computational basis of sensory perception and decision making in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We aim to achieve a quantitative model for the circuit-function relationships underlying the integration of complex sensory inputs and its conversion into orientation behaviours. We tackle this problem in the miniature olfactory system of the Drosophila larva. To understand how odour tracking comes about in terms of circuit computations, we combine a variety of experimental and computational techniques. Our strategy is to build and validate integrative models at the level of neural circuits, and to link these models to the characterization of nervous functions in the larva by using loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments, functional imaging and controlled functional perturbations through thermogenetics and optogenetics. The three main objectives of our research are: (i) to reverse-engineer the sensorimotor algorithms that control larval chemotaxis; (ii) to study the evolution of circuit-function relationships underlying chemotaxis in the Drosophila group; (iii) to identify the computational principles and neural circuits directing multisensory integration in Drosophila.

Research Projects

  • Characterizing the peripheral encoding of dynamic olfactory stimuli
  • Mapping the neural circuitry underlying larval chemotaxis
  • Unravelling the sensorimotor computations directing larval chemotaxis
  • Characterizing the principles controlling the integration of multisensory inputs
  • Clarifying how sensorimotor computations have evolved within the Drosophila group

Selected Publications

Gomez-Marin A and Louis M.
“Multilevel control of run orientation in Drosophila larval chemotaxis.”
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8:38 (2014).