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The project aims to reconstruct neurons and their connections from a recently completed whole brain electron microscopy volume of the adult Drosophila melanogaster brain obtained at HHMI Janelia Research Campus in the US. The goal is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the neural circuit basis of memory storage and retrieval, focused on the olfactory system.

The project is a collaboration with co-applicants Janelia, the MRC LMB in Cambridge and the University of Oxford Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour.

Current research topics include:

  • To trace the circuits (neurons and their up- and downstream partners) involved in innate olfactory behaviour and analysing how these relate to specific olfactory stimuli and their valence.

  • To reconstruct the olfactory circuits that input and output onto the associative memory centre (mushroom body), to understand how memories are stored, retrieved and affected by the internal state of the fly and valence of the stimuli.

  • To identify the thermosensory and hygrosensory circuits, from first order neurons (olfactory projection neurons) to higher brain centres, and understand how these circuits interact with innate and associative memory.

Key Publications

P Schlegel, M Costa, GSXE Jefferis (2017) Learning from Connectomics on the fly, Current Opinion in Insect Science24:96–105.

E Marin & M Costa (2017) Sensory Neurobiology: Wet Fly FishingCurrent Biology27:R833–R852.  

Michael-John Dolan, Ghislain Belliart-Guérin, Alexander Shakeel Bates, Shahar Frechter, Aurélie Lampin-Saint-Amaux, Yoshinori Aso, Ruairí J.V. Roberts, Philipp Schlegel, Allan Wong, Adnan Hammad, Davi Bock, Gerald M. Rubin, Thomas Preat, Pierre-Yves Plaçais and Gregory S.X.E. Jefferis (2018) Communication from Learned to Innate Olfactory Processing Centers Is Required for Memory Retrieval in DrosophilaNeuron

Johannes Felsenberg, Pedro F. Jacob, Thomas Walker, Oliver Barnstedt, Amelia J. Edmondson-Stait, Markus W. Pleijzier, Nils Otto, Philipp Schlegel, Nadiya Sharifi, Emmanuel Perisse, Carlas S. Smith, J. Scott Lauritzen, Marta Costa, Gregory S.X.E. Jefferis, Davi D. Bock and Scott Waddell (2018) Integration of Parallel Opposing Memories Underlies Memory ExtinctionCell

Zheng Z, Lauritzen JS, Perlman E, Robinson CG, Nichols M, Milkie D, Torrens O, Price J, Fisher CB, Sharifi N, Calle-Schuler S, Kmecova L, J. Ali I, Karsh B, T. Trautman E, A. Bogovic J, Hanslovsky P, s.X.E. Jefferis G, Kazhdan M, Khairy K, Saalfeld S, D. Fetter R and Bock D (2018). A Complete Electron Microscopy Volume of the Brain of Adult Drosophila melanogasterCell 


Michael-John Dolan, Shahar Frechter, Alexander Shakeel Bates, Chuntao Dan, Paavo Huoviala, Ruairi J.V. Roberts, Philipp Schlegel, Serene Dhawan, Remy Tabano, Heather Dionne, Christina Christoforou, Kari Close, Ben Sutcliffe, Bianca Giuliani, Feng Li, Marta Costa, Gudrun Ihrke, Geoffrey Meissner, Davi Bock, Yoshinori Aso, Gerald Rubin,  Gregory Jefferis (2018) Neurogenetic dissection of the Drosophila innate olfactory processing centerbioRxiv

Paavo Huoviala, Michael-John Dolan, Fiona M. Love Shahar Frechter, Ruairí J.V. Roberts, Zane Mitrevica, Philipp Schlegel, Alexander Shakeel Bates, Yoshinori Aso, Tiago Rodrigues, Hannah Cornwall, Marcus Stensmyr, Davi Bock, Gerald M. Rubin, Marta Costa, Gregory S.X.E. Jefferis (2018) Neural circuit basis of aversive odour processing in Drosophila from sensory input to descending output, bioRxiv

Full publication list


Contact Details

Group Leaders

Dr Gregory Jefferis
01223 (2)67048

Dr Matthias Landgraf
01223 (7)69348

Dr Marta Costa
01223 (3)34455

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St


Group Members