Studying how learning affects the representation of visual objects in Drosophila eye and brain networks

Supervisor: Professor Mikko Juusola

Application deadline: Friday 4 December 2015

Project Description:

The main objective of this project is to work out how large neural populations in the early fly visual system and the midbrain represent visual objects and their memories in space-time.

Advancements in Drosophila genetics and in vivo recording provide tools to monitor (and modify) neural population activity during object representation, learning and recognition, while information theory and engineering tools enable quantifying the responses and behaviours. This research will use a combination of modern fly genetics, 2-photon calcium-imaging, Drosophila virtual-reality track-ball system and dynamic image analysis techniques to quantify how visual object induced brain activity and visual behaviour change when a fly is taught that the object it sees is good (associated with reward) or bad (associated with punishment).

The project will aim to further test and quantify anatomical and functional properties of specific eye and brain circuitry.

Key subject areas:Biophysics, Neuroscience/Neurology, Biophysics, Data Analysis


Competition-funded project (Students worldwide)


  • Seelig, J. & Jayaraman, V. (2015). Neural dynamics for landmark orientation and angular path integration. Nature 521: 186-191.
  • Wardill, T.J., List, O., Li, X., Dongre, S., McCulloch, M., Ting, C.Y., O’Kane, C.J., Tang, S., Lee, C.H., Hardie, R.C. & Juusola, M. (2012). Multiple Spectral Inputs Improve Motion Discrimination in the Drosophila Visual System.  Science 336: 925-931.
  • Juusola, M. & de Polavieja, G.G. (2003). The rate of information transfer of naturalistic stimulation by graded potentials. J. Gen. Physiol. 122: 191-206.

Contact details

Professor Mikko Juusola



Further Information:

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