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Fly Descending Interneuron

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More in this Project Team Landing Page
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News & Updates

06/30/18 | Learn about the functional organization of Descending Neurons in our recent eLife publication.
12/12/17 | The expression patterns of the DN collection are available for download on the split-GAL4 website. Select Descending Neurons 2017 as the release type, or view by DN type under 'Anatomical expression'. 
12/11/17 | We just posted a preprint to BioRxiv that describes our work dissecting the functional organization of descending sensory-motor pathways in Drosophila. Check it out!
12/11/17 | Our collaboration with the Stern Lab and Josh Shaevitz @ Princeton is on BioRxiv: Optogenetic dissection of descending behavioral control in Drosophila
06/01/16 | We are releasing our split-GAL4 lines pre-publication! Please email Gwyneth or Wyatt to request the collection. ~130 lines covering ~60 DNs.
02/01/15 | Hiro was promoted to the new position of Research Scientist at Janelia. Congratulations Hiro!
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Project Overview
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Have you ever tried to swat a fly and been impressed by its ability to evade your approach? Descending interneurons (DNs) are essential to that quick response. Flies integrate sensory input from many sources in the brain and send motor commands through the neck to effect behaviors. DNs connect pre-processed sensory information from the brain to motor centers of the fly’s ventral nerve cord and hence represent a crucial bottleneck in sensorimotor processing. This project aims to anatomically characterize and create cell-type specific driver lines for each of the approximately 350 pairs of descending interneurons. With our collaborators, we are using these driver lines to manipulate individual DNs and determine how activating or silencing them affects behavior. Our ultimate goal is to understand the role these cells play in sensory-guided behavioral circuits.

Please read more about our efforts on our Research page.