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Kvitsiani Group


Kvitsiani group - 
Neuronal Basis of Decision-making in Fruit Flies and Mice


The Kvitsiani group investigates the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that underlie effort based decision-making in flies, rodents and humans. The aim of his research is to build predictive and quantitative models of foraging behavior to uncover the neural and genetic mechanisms that underlie animal decisions. The methods used include molecular genetics, psychophysics, behavioral electrophysiology and optogenetics.

Research focus


The main focus of our research is to investigate how animals allocate effort to forage efficiently in unpredictable environments. By employing quantitative foraging models and carefully designed behavioral assays with extracellular electrophysiology and optogenetics we plan to identify circuit level computations in mouse brain that subserve foraging decisions. In order to uncover the molecular basis of foraging decisions reverse genetic screens in combination with foraging behavioral assays will be used in fruit flies. Another focus of research will be to determine whether foraging humans use the same strategies as flies and rodents, and whether these strategies are adversely affected in mentally disabled patients. Long term goal is to use ecology inspired quantitative behavioral models to guide and sharpen scientific questions. Duda Kvitsiani also hopes to take advantage of the diverse scientific cultures at Aarhus University to launch fruitful collaborations in pursuit of this goal.

Available projects

The Kvitsiani group currently has projects available for Master students, PhD students, and post docs. Please contact Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani directly, if interested.

Left picture: Schematic of foraging assay examining animals decisions to abandon depleting patches as function of travel difficulty. Right picture: Identification of cell-types in extracellular recordings using targeted expression of Channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) molecule in genetically defined neurons (red cells illustrated).

News

Previous news from the research group

News

2019.10.31 | News from the management

Welcome to Anna Barta who is new student in Kvitsiani and Philipsborn group

Anna Barta will work on fruit fly project in Duda Kvitsiani’s lab. Anna will test how fruit flies forage for probabilistic rewards under different metabolic states. For this Anna will use newly developed natural reward delivery system in combination with measurements of metabolic state in individual animals. Anna’s work will be a collaboration…

2019.09.17 | News from the management

Congratulations to Jesper Hagelskjær who has been appointed Postdoc in Kvitsiani Group

Jesper Hagelskjær will be involved in further developing real-time spike sorting tool that he established during his Ph.D. time. This tool provides instantaneous neural feedback to animals based on the spiking activity of individual neurons and makes it possible to test many of the existing hypothesis in neuroscience. One such hypothesis that…

2019.03.25 | Research news

Now scientists can turn on and off brain cells

Article currently only available in Danish, English translation coming soon. Ved at sende laserlys ind igennem et fiberkabel i hovedet på mus kan forskere fra Aarhus Universitet nu slukke og tænde for neuroner. Det er et teknologisk gennembrud, som kan give ny viden om, hvordan hjernen fungerer.

Photo: Group leader Duda Kvitsiani and postdoc Maria Moltesen
Photo: Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani

2018.12.07 | Knowledge exchange

Duda Kvitsiani and his research is featured in the first article of the new 'Behind the Scenes' series of The Nordic EMBL Partnership

As a new thing, the Nordic EMBL Partnership will look in-depth at a researcher, or a facility, within the Nordic EMBL Partnership by writing stories for a new partnership network series called 'Behind the Scenes'.

Duda Kvistiani

2018.10.30 | News from the management

Congratulations to Duda Kvitsiani, who has had his Group Leader extension approved

The Executive Board of DANDRITE has approved the recommendations from Duda’s Assessment Committee to extend his appointment at DANDRITE for another four-year period until 2023.

2018.09.04 | DudaKvitsiani

Dovile Saulenaite is new Intern in Kvitsiani Group

Initially Dovile Saulenaite will be part of a research project that aims to extend and characterize single fly decisions in probabilistic environments. Later Dovile will be focusing on aspects and possible sources of individuality in fruit fly foraging behavior. She will record foraging decisions of fruit flies for several days, to investigate how…

2018.08.23 | People

João Lima is new Postdoc in Nabavi Group

João will investigate the plasticity rules that underlie attention-dependent forms of associative learning at the cellular and circuit levels, in mice. The project is multidisciplinary and will involve extracellular and intracellular recordings, calcium imaging, optogenetics, and behavioural training of animals. Furthermore than working in Nabavi…

2018.08.21 | People

Maria Møller Moltesen is new Research Assistant in Duda Kvitsiani's Group

Maria will assist lab members in behavioral training and testing of animals. She will also build tools to record and activate neurons using electrophysiology and optical stimulation set up. With other lab members Maria will participate in lab meetings and journal clubs.

2016.11.15 | Knowledge exchange

Duda Kvitsiani interviewed for videnskab.dk: A 'tickling rats' study

According to a new study in Science, rats that are tickled exhibit the same behavior as humans. The same study also revealed that tickling can be detected in the brain. According to Duda Kvitsiani, the results are important for understanding what tickling means socially.

2015.12.15 | Awards

Duda Kvitsiani receives AUFF NOVA grant

Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani has receiced a 1.2 mio DKK NOVA grant from the Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF) for his project on “Next generation tools for recording neurons in 3D volume”. The aim of AUFF NOVA is to stimulate courageous and innovative research projects of high quality – projects which may have difficulties obtaining…

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