Kvitsiani Group


Kvitsiani group - Neuronal circuits and molecular basis of effort based decision-making


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

2017.08.29 | People

Eske Hoy Nielsen is new student assistant in Kvitsiani Group

Eske is new student assistant in Duda's group from August 14th. He will participate in building the behavioral set up for head-fixed mice. He will automate behavioral protocols to train and test animals on an effort based decision-making task. Eske will also participate in programming the computer game for humans that will test if humans follow…

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…

(Copyright: Colourbox)
Sadegh Nabavi (Photo: private)
Mark Denham (Photo: private)
Anne von Philipsborn (Photo: DANDRITE)
Duda Kvitsiani (Photo: DANDRITE)
Keisuke Yonehara (Photo: DANDRITE)

2015.05.29 | People

Top team of Group leaders now complete at DANDRITE

DANDRITE’s aim of appointing five top researchers as Group leaders has just become a reality with the appointment of Dr Sadegh Nabavi, whose research includes how memory is formed, how it can be erased, and how it can subsequently be restored.

2015.05.29 | Awards

Duda Kvitsiani is awarded grant from the Lundbeck Foundation

Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani has been awarded a 1.6 mio DKK grant from the Lundbeck Foundation to his project “Light and the Brain”, where he aims for developing patterned light stimulation and imaging system for behaving rodents.

2014.11.05 | People

New Group Leader at DANDRITE

New DANDRITE Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani started his work in Aarhus on 3 November 2014. 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…

2014.08.28 | People

Two new Group Leaders at DANDRITE

DANDRITE appoints Dr. Duda Kvitsiani and Dr. Keisuke Yonehara as Group Leaders for a five year period with a possibility of extension to a maximum of nine years. Both scientists will start their research activities at DANDRITE this autumn on neuronal circuits in brain function. A total of four Group Leaders are now recruited at DANDRITE with…