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The project aims to generate the first synaptic-resolution connectome for a whole male and female adult Drosophila melanogaster central nervous system, from an electron microscopy volume obtained at HHMI Janelia Research Campus in the US. The goal is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of some of the sensory, motor and sensory-motor integration circuits, as well sexually dimorphic differences.

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

Current research topics include:

  • To reconstruct the neurons that connect the brain and the ventral nerve cord and identify their role in the flow of information and sensory-motor integration.
  • To comprehensively identify and describe the intrinsic neurons of the ventral nerve cord.
  • To better understand morphological and connectivity variability, within and between individuals, including sexually dimorphic differences
  • To develop robust workflows and open source software that allows the analysis of large neuroanatomical datasets.

Key Publications

Philipp Schlegel*, Alexander S. Bates*, Tomke Stürner#, Sridhar Jagannathan#, Nikolas Drummond, Joseph Hsu, Laia Serratosa Capdevila, Alexandre Javier, Elizabeth C. Marin, Asa Barth-Maron, Imaan F. M. Tamimi, Feng Li, Gerald M. Rubin, Stephen M. Plaza, Marta Costa, Gregory S. X. E. Jefferis (2021) Information flow, cell types and stereotypy in a full olfactory connectomeeLife  */#: these authors contributed equally

Alexander S. Bates*, Philipp Schlegel*, Ruairi J.V. Roberts, Nikolas Drummond, Imaan F.M. Tamimi, Robert Turnbull, Xincheng Zhao, Elizabeth C. Marin, Patricia D. Popovici, Serene Dhawan, Arian Jamasb, Alexandre Javier, Laia Serratosa Capdevila, Feng Li, Gerald M. Rubin, Scott Waddell, Davi D. Bock, Marta Costa and Gregory S.X.E. Jefferis (2020) Complete Connectomic Reconstruction of Olfactory Projection Neurons in the Fly BrainCurrent Biology

Elizabeth C. Marin, Laurin Büld, Maria Theiss, Tatevik Sarkissian, Ruairí J.V. Roberts, Robert Turnbull, Imaan F.M. Tamimi, Markus W. Pleijzier, Willem J. Laursen, Nik Drummond, Philipp Schlegel, Alexander S. Bates, Feng Li, Matthias Landgraf, Marta Costa, Davi D. Bock, Paul A. Garrity and Gregory S.X.E. Jefferis (2020) Connectomics Analysis Reveals First-, Second-, and Third-Order Thermosensory and Hygrosensory Neurons in the Adult Drosophila Brain, Current Biology

Nils Otto, Markus W. Pleijzier, Isabel C. Morgan, Amelia J. Edmondson-Stait, Konrad J. Heinz, Ildiko Stark, Georgia Dempsey, Masayoshi Ito, Ishaan Kapoor, Joseph Hsu, Philipp M. Schlegel, Alexander S. Bates, Li Feng, Marta Costa, Kei Ito, Davi D. Bock, Gerald M. Rubin, Gregory S.X.E. Jefferis and Scott Waddell (2020) Input Connectivity Reveals Additional Heterogeneity of Dopaminergic Reinforcement in DrosophilaCurrent Biology

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. 


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




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