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

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Rudy Behnia

(212) 992-9526


  • 2006. Cambridge University. PhD.


  • In an effort to understand the role of specific optic lobe neurons in the processing of visual information, I have developed an in vivo system in which the activity of medulla neurons in response to specific wavelengths and patterns of light is measured using whole-cell patch-clamp recording. I am combining our detailed knowledge of the anatomy of the optic lobe and the availability of specific marker lines to target our recordings to specific neuronal types using GFP expression. These lines will also enable me to silence/activate specific sets of neurons and access the effect of these manipulations on the activity of downstream neurons in order to perform circuit analysis.

  • I am currently routinely recording from Mi1, Tm1 and Tm2 neurons, three columnar cell types whose anatomy suggests involvement in motion detection. Indeed, Mi1 is postsynaptic to lamina neuron L1 while Tm1 and Tm2 are both postsynaptic to lamina neuron L2. L1 and L2 are the first steps in the motion detection pathway in Drosophila. The L1 pathway has been shown to feed into a motion circuit that responds preferentially to bright edges whereas the L2 pathway feeds into a motion circuit that responds preferentially to dark edges. I present flies with flashes of light and white noise stimulus while recording from Mi1, Tm1 and Tm2, in order to assess their response to brightness increments and decrements and other properties. These neurons show distinct and reproducible evoked responses to these stimuli (see example below). I will be extending this type of experiments to other cells types and eventually modifying the system to study color sensitive neurons in the medulla.


  • European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • Human Fronteir Science Program (HFSP)