Desplan Lab
New York University. 100 Washington Square East.
1009 Silver Center. New York, NY. 10003.

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Alberto del Valle Rodriguez

(212) 992-9526


  • 2006. Universidad de Sevilla. PhD.


  • The medulla part of the optic lobe is one of the most complex structures of the Drosophila nervous system, with over 40,000 neurons belonging to more than 70 different cell types. How cell diversity is achieved from a limited number of neuroblasts (NB, neuron stem cells) is a challenging task. We are taking advantage of the power of Drosophila molecular genetics such as MARCM (mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker), TSG (twin spot generator), TS MARCM (twin spot MARCM) or Flybow, in order to uncover the lineage relationships among neurons of the optic lobe. The collection of cell clones of different sizes (single, sister cell clones and multicellular clones) where we can identify the neuronal cell identity allows us to infer lineage relationships among neurons. The ability to visualize neurons in isolation also allows us to define the morphology of the neurons and their connectivity.

  • We have already defined the lineage of a number of cell types and described how they emerge from neuroblasts (e.g. Lawf, Dm1-3, T1, T2, T3 or different Tm and Mt cells). Our results indicate different patterns of NB division: while in some cases one NB is dedicated to generate cells of a sinlge type, others can give rise to several cell types (see Figure).
  • Figure 1. Samples of Twin Spot MARCM clones of medulla neurons
    by using a pan-neuronal driver (elav). Panel A shows a heterogeneous
    cell clone product of one or more NBs. Panel B shows two populations
    with equal number of GFP and RFP labeled neurons. The neuropil is
    labeled with N-Cadherin (blue).

  • Together with other lab mates, I am studying transcription factors expressed in developing medulla neurons that may confer cell identity in adult neurons. Having this larval vs. adult lineage information allocates us in a great position to fully understand the logic of optic lobe development.


  • Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia Fundacion Caja Madrid


  • Currently affiliated with NYU Abu Dhabi