Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Information processing in Drosophila: Initiation of a EU research network for doctoral candidates

16.03.2012
Neurobiology division of the Institute of Zoology of Mainz University is now part of the EU-funded pan-European FLiACT initial training network on systemic neuroscience

Eight European research institutes, including Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany, and three commercial partners have joined forces in an EU project to provide young academics with an outstanding research environment in the field of systemic neuroscience. The project by the name of FLiACT has been awarded four years of EU-funding through the Marie Curie Actions program.


The image taken from a high-speed video shows a fruit fly Drosophila of about 2.5 millimeters in body length engaged in climbing over a barely surmountable gap.
©: Strauss lab

The participating partners are working on various complementary aspects of neuroscience, ranging from molecular genetics to bioengineering. The nervous system of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, will be serving as the research focus. The objective of FLiACT is to create a unique training network in order to develop new research sectors and promote collaboration among research institutes. The neurobiology work group headed by Professor Dr. Roland Strauss at the Institute of Zoology at Mainz University is also part of the network.

Discovering how the brain functions represents one of the greatest challenges of current research. In order to understand cognitive processes in the brain, it is necessary to analyze its activity at various levels, beginning with its genetic building plan and covering biochemical processes and neural circuits as well as the characteristics of certain types of behavior. Over the last decades, the fruit fly Drosophila has become the model organism used by scientists to investigate the means by which sensory information is gathered, processed, and stored, and behavioral output is generated. Drosophila has already proven useful when it comes to the investigation of the genetic causes of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. The human brain has a million times more neurons than that of Drosophila, but because both share common principles, it is possible to understand complex brain functions by studying the miniature fly brain. Thanks to FLiACT, twelve young European researchers now have the opportunity of embarking on a doctoral dissertation project that will look at cutting-edge aspects of neuroscience.

The participants will undertake a considerable part of their work in cooperation with the partner institutions, for example as visiting scientists. They will receive training in interdisciplinary workshops to enable them to acquire skills in innovative technologies in the areas of neurogenetics, neuroanatomy, neuroimaging and behavior analysis, while the commercial project partners will provide them with insight into such aspects as technology transfer and project management. There are also opportunities for cooperation with the Janelia Farm Research Campus, a research institute of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the United States of America.

The research group led by Professor Dr. Roland Strauss at Mainz University will be contributing to the project with its work on the biochemistry of learning and the underlying neuronal networks. The group studies the persistence of memory – from memories that are retained for a few seconds only to those that last an entire lifetime. "Improvements in motor skills acquired by repetitive training, for example, can enhance the climbing success of a fly for its entire lifetime," explains Strauss. But the insects are also capable of remembering the location of an object and of using it as a spatial orientation aid. Studies conducted in Mainz have shown that flies can remember the location of this object for several seconds after it has been removed from their environment. The researchers were able to pinpoint a small group of neurons that are responsible for this memory-based orientation ability. "The new EU network will help promote cooperation with other European research groups and thus lead to a better understanding of how the brain processes and retains information."

The FLiACT project (Systems neuroscience of Drosophila: from genes to circuits to behaviors) is an Initial Training Network (ITN) sponsored by the European Union. It is being coordinated by Dr. Matthieu Louis of the Center for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain.

Petra Giegerich | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/eng/15126.php
http://www.fliact.eu/
http://www.kowi.de/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-153/490_read-258/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The world's tiniest first responders
21.06.2018 | University of Southern California

nachricht A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå
21.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>