Thomas Clandinin, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Visual processing in the fly, from photoreceptors to behavior.
Originally a genetic model organism, the experimental use of Drosophila melanogaster has grown to include quantitative behavioral analyses, sophisticated perturbations of neuronal function, and detailed sensory physiology. A highlight of these developments can be seen in the context of vision, where pioneering studies have uncovered fundamental and generalizable principles of sensory processing. Here we begin with an overview of vision-guided behaviors and common methods for probing visual circuits. We then outline the anatomy and physiology of brain regions involved in visual processing, beginning at the sensory periphery and ending with descending motor control. Areas of focus include contrast and motion detection in the optic lobe, circuits for visual feature selectivity, computations in support of spatial navigation, and contextual associative learning. Finally, we look to the future of fly visual neuroscience and discuss promising topics for further study.
View details for DOI 10.1093/genetics/iyad064
View details for PubMedID 37128740
A neural circuit for wind-guided olfactory navigation.
2022; 13 (1): 4613
To navigate towards a food source, animals frequently combine odor cues about source identity with wind direction cues about source location. Where and how these two cues are integrated to support navigation is unclear. Here we describe a pathway to the Drosophila fan-shaped body that encodes attractive odor and promotes upwind navigation. We show that neurons throughout this pathway encode odor, but not wind direction. Using connectomics, we identify fan-shaped body local neurons called h∆C that receive input from this odor pathway and a previously described wind pathway. We show that h∆C neurons exhibit odor-gated, wind direction-tuned activity, that sparse activation of h∆C neurons promotes navigation in a reproducible direction, and that h∆C activity is required for persistent upwind orientation during odor. Based on connectome data, we develop a computational model showing how h∆C activity can promote navigation towards a goal such as an upwind odor source. Our results suggest that odor and wind cues are processed by separate pathways and integrated within the fan-shaped body to support goal-directed navigation.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-022-32247-7
View details for PubMedID 35941114