The mission of the lab is to elucidate both the functional architecture of the fly visual system and the means by which the central brain uses visual information.
We seek to understand the transformations that occur in the fly visual system: dozens of parallel pathways extract features from a small number of sensory neuron types.
We are working to link these identified pathways to specific behavioral programs. We use the modern Drosophila molecular-genetic toolkit along with the unparalleled control over stimuli that is the hallmark of vision science to understand this intricate, but increasingly well described, network. All projects in the lab combine multiple approaches. We explore the rich visual behaviors of walking and flying flies, along with functional investigations of specific cell types using electrophysiology and calcium imaging. All of our work benefits from extensive instrument development efforts and computational methods for data analysis and modeling.
We work closely with several groups within Janelia, especially the labs of Gerry Rubin, Vivek Jayaraman, Gwyneth Card, Kristin Branson, and the FlyEM and Fly Olympiad Project teams.
Fly visual place learning experiment.
The chamber we use for tethering flies, a.k.a. a sarcophagus.
A tethered flying fly.
Visualizing fly vision: a composite image of a fly's head, a projection of the brain, and two-photon calcium imaging of stimulus-evoked responses from the visual system. Image by James Strother.
The Lamina Wide Field type 2 neuron, a fascinating feedback cell in the fly visual system. Image by Aljoscha Nern.