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Understanding the Origins of Individuality

Why are we all different, and where does this variability come from? These are critical questions in Neurobiology and Psychology and guide our research. We use the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster and several visual and non-visually guided behaviors to answer these questions.

Individual differences of fly behavior.


Individual variability in visual and non-visual behaviors

We are investigating individual behavioral variability in several different behaviors. These include classical assays in the visual system, but we are also experimenting with non-visual behaviors as circadian rhythmicity, aggression, courtship. In the long run, we hope to understand how exactly these interindividual differences are generated.

Individual differences in visually guided behaviors.


The circuit variability behind individuality

We are interested to understand the circuit-wide differences between individuals of a species. To investigate this, we are using a combination of electron microscopy reconstruction and light microscopic variability analysis. Is variability equally distributed throughout the brain, or are some neurons more stereotypic than others?

3D reconstructions of DCN neurons


Stability of Individuality – what a brain needs for reproducible behaviors

Individual variability is a fundamental feature of all members of a species. Is this individual variability a bug or a feature? To investigate this, we are exploring the essential requirements for individual differences. Are there genetic pathways that mediate individual differences and stability? These questions are related to human disease states affecting individuality.


Stable and instable behavioral individuality in visually guided behaviors.