- Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology. PhD.
- In Drosophila, color information is thought to be detected by the inner photoreceptors R7 and R8, which express one of four different Rhodopsins (Rh). R7s contain either the UV-sensitive Rh3 or Rh4, while R8s express blue-sensitive Rh5 or green-sensitive Rh6. The inner photoreceptors directly innervate the medulla, which is thought to be the first processing center for color vision.
- In order to understand how color information is processed in the medulla, I have developed an assay for color vision based on the behavior of single flying flies in a colored (blue and green) LED arena. True color vision requires that flies be able to recognize wavelengths independently of intensity, making it necessary to develop a learning assay. I am using two different operant paradigms in order to train flies to discriminate between two colors. One assay is based on olfactory reinforcement, the other one on traditional heat punishment. During the assay, the behavior of the flies is monitored and the data are automatically analyzed.
- In my ongoing work, I take advantage of our collection of Rhodopsin mutants and highly specific Gal4 drivers to manipulate neuronal activity in different retina and medulla cell types to study their function in color vision. This approach, in conjunction with electrophysiology, adds functional data to the anatomical map of the Drosophila medulla and provides insight into the processing of color information in the brain.
- DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)