Professor TU Munich for ‘Neural Circuits and Metabolism’
Research focus: When interacting with their environment animals continuously have to make decisions. These decisions frequently aim at maximizing reward while avoiding negative consequences such as energy costs, pain, or long-term disadvantages. Faced with a choice animals consider and integrate several parameters such as their internal state as well as other external stimuli. Often decisions are shaped by prior experiences such as exposure to a given stimulus in a certain condition. But preferences and aversions can be innate, and an instinctive reaction can be essential to secure survival. Nevertheless, even these innate preferences need to be evaluated in a context-dependent manner and hence, context strongly impinges on behavior. While it is generally accepted, that context influences behavior, our knowledge of the neural mechanisms of how internal state and external conditions alter behavioral outcomes is scarce. The problem can be broken down in several aspects: (i) behavior: how does context alter behavior, (ii) circuits: how does context change neural processing, and (iii) genes: which molecules modulate behavior in a context-dependent manner? The research of my group aims at understanding the neuronal and molecular basis of context-specific choice behavior. In particular, we focus on how chemosensory stimuli, odors and tastes, are translated into meaningful and for a given situation appropriate behavior. We take a multidisciplinary approach by combining Drosophila genetics, behavioral analysis, and in vivo imaging and electrophysiology.
Key words: Neural Circuits, Chemosensory Coding, Metabolism, Adaptive behaviour and decision-making
Hussain A*, Zhang M*, Üçpunar HK, Svensson T, Quillery E, Gompel N, Ignell R, Grunwald Kadow IC (2016). Ionotropic chemosensory receptors mediate the taste and smell of polyamines. PLoS Biology 14:e1002454. doi:10.1371 * equal contribution
Hussain A*, Üçpunar HK*, Zhang M, Loschek LF, Grunwald Kadow IC (2016). Neuropeptides modulate female chemosensory processing upon mating in Drosophila. PLoS Biology 14:e1002455. doi: 10.1371 * equal contribution
Lewis L, Siju KP, Aso Y, Friedrich AB, Bulteel AJB, Rubin GM, Grunwald Kadow IC (2015). A higher brain circuit for immediate integration of conflicting sensory information in Drosophila. Current Biology PMID: 26299514, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.07.015
Bräcker LB*, Siju KP*, Varela N, Zhang M, Aso Y, Vasconcelos ML, Grunwald Kadow IC (2013). Essential role of the mushroom body in context-dependent CO₂avoidance in Drososphila. Current Biololgy 23(13):1228-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.029. Epub 2013 Jun 13 * equal contribution
Jones WD, Cayirlioglu P, Grunwald Kadow I and.Vosshall LB. (2007) Two chemosensory receptors together mediate carbon dioxide detection in Drosophila. Nature 445: 86-90.