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We seek to understand how neural networks are specified and how they assemble during development. The locomotor network of the Drosophila embryo and larva serves as a powerful experimental model. Composed of identified neurons whose connections have been reconstructed, we use genetics, imaging and electrophysiology to study fundamental questions about synapse development, dendritic growth and the regulation of plasticity.

Current research topics include:

  • Charting the developmental logic of neurotransmitters specification

  • Determining how patterned growth during development leads to patterns of synaptic connections

  • Activity dependent structural homeostasis and the maturation of network properties

  • Reactive oxygen species seen in a different light, as newly identified regulators of synaptic growth

  • Connectomics of memory circuits

Key Publications

Oswald MCW, Brooks PS, Zwart MF, Mukherjee A, West RJH, Morarach K, Sweeney ST and Landgraf M. (2017). Reactive Oxygen Species Regulate Activity-Dependent Neuronal Structural Plasticity.  bioRxiv 081968.  DOI: 

Zwart MF, Pulver SR, Truman JW, Fushiki A, Fetter, RD, Cardona A, Landgraf M. (2016). Selective Inhibition Mediates the Sequential Recruitment of Motor Pools. Neuron 91(3):615-628.  DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.031.  

Couton L, Mauss AS, Yunusov T, Diegelmann S, Evers JF, Landgraf M (2015). Development of connectivity in a motoneuronal network in Drosophila larvae. Curr Biol 25: 568–576, 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.056.  (see also Dispatch by Sternberg JR, Wyart C. Neuronal wiring: linking dendrite placement to synapse formation. Curr Biol 25: R190–1, 2015.)

Mauss A, Tripodi M, Evers JF, Landgraf M (2009) Midline signalling systems direct the formation of a neural map by dendritic targeting in the Drosophila motor system. PLoS Biol 7(9):e1000200.  DOI:  10.1371/journal.pbio.1000200

Tripodi M, Evers JF, Mauss A, Bate M, Landgraf M (2008) Structural homeostasis: compensatory adjustments of dendritic arbor geometry in response to variations of synaptic input. PLoS Biol 6(10):e260. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060260.

Full list of publications via PubMed


Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Matthias Landgraf

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223  (7)69348

Group Members