Neuroscience Lecture by Michael Dickinson (University of Washington, USA)

Title: "Straighten up and fly right: Visual navigation in Drosophila"

Michael Dickinson

Time and venue: 11.00 a.m. at the Lecture Hall (room 0.10 of the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max-von-Laue-Str. 3, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Campus Riedberg)

One of the greatest challenges in neurobiology is in understanding how nervous systems can generate long seamless sequences of behavior, for example, the yearly migrations of birds, whales, or insects from the poles to the tropics. The research in my laboratory focuses on the flight behavior of fruit flies which - although not global migrants - do use flight to disperse over long distances and explore their local environment for food and mates. A successful flight sequence from take-off to landing involves many sensory-motor programs operating in series and parallel on different time scales. By applying various quantitative behavioral methods we are attempting to identify and isolate these different sensory-motor modules at the algorithmic level, with the ultimate goal of identifying the underlying circuits. My talk will focus on several critical visually-mediated components of flight behavior including take-off, navigation, predator avoidance, and landing.



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