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Drosophila Connectomics

fly brain.png

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.  


MJ Dolan, GBelliart-Guerin, AS Bates, Y Aso, S Frechter, RJV Roberts, P Schlegel, A Wong, A Hammad, D Bock, GM Rubin, TPreat, PY Placais, GSXE Jefferis (2017) Communication from learned to innate olfactory processing centres is required for memory retrieval in Drosophila, bioRxiv. 

Z Zheng, JS Lauritzen, E Perlman, CG Robinson, M Nichols, D Milkie, O Torrens, J Price, CB Fisher, N Sharifi, SA Calle-Schuler, L Kmecova, IJ Ali, B Karsh, ET Trautman, JBogovic, P Hanslovsky, GSXE Jefferis, M Kazhdan, K Khairy, S Saalfeld, RD Fetter, DD Bock (2017) A Complete Electron Microscopy Volume of the Brain of Adult Drosophila melanogaster, 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