The brain of a fly larva showing in blue all the neurons, in yellow all of the support cells (glia) and in purple the neurons transmiting odour information to memory centers.

Lucia Prieto-Godino : Areas of interest

Introduction

The goal of the lab is to understand how evolution sculpts nervous systems, giving rise to novel behaviours. Studying the evolutionary forces imposed on neural circuits can provide us with important insights into how brains work and what goes wrong in diseases.

However, we know little about the molecular, cellular and genetic mechanisms by which novel sensory evoked behaviours arise.

We address these questions harnessing the rich ecological diversity found within the Drosophila species complex, and using the olfactory system as our main model circuit.

We have a multidisciplinary approach, combining a variety of methodologies including field-work, bioinformatics, electrophysiology, imaging, behavioural analysis, and genetic manipulations.

Fly species used by the Prieto-Godino lab.

Figure 1. We work on different fly species of the genus Drosophila. On the top left, an electrophysiology trace from a recording of olfactory sensory neurons in response to an odour stimulus. In the middle, local interneurons and projection neurons downstream of a single olfactory receptor are labelled in the antennal lobe (equivalent to the mammalian olfactory bulb) of Drosophila sechellia through dye injection. Top right, a phylogenetic tree of acid sensing olfactory receptors in members of the Drosophila melanogaster species group. Bottom right, adult Drosophila optogenetics behavioural experiment.