Philipsborn Group

Philipsborn group - Circuits for motor control and behavioural organisation

The Philipsborn group is interested in how the nervous system generates and controls behaviour, at the level of genes, neurons and neuronal circuits.  We use the fruitfly Drosophila with its small and compact nervous system as model organism for basic research in behavioural genetics and circuit neuroscience. Furthermore, we are also collaborating on using Drosophila as a model system for understanding molecular and cellular aspects of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Research focus

Our focus is on motor behaviour, the ultimate output of the nervous system. We are in particular interested in multifunctionality of neuro-muscular systems and mechanisms of motor pattern generation, as well as and higher order organisation of motor behaviour, context dependent action selection and behavioural hierarchy. We aim at uncovering and understanding general mechanisms and principles of nervous system function by investigating small, genetically accessible circuits of identifiable neurons which drive robust and ecologically relevant behaviour. Our main model system is Drosophila reproductive behaviour, courtship and sex-specific communication, which includes a rich set of fascinating innate and experience dependent motor behaviours. Many of the genes and stereotyped neurons underlying sexual behaviour are described, offering an ideal starting point for mechanistic understanding of circuits and their context dependent modulation. We make full use of the state-of-the-art genetic toolkit for observing and probing the Drosophila nervous system at cellular resolution and employ live imaging, anatomical reconstructions, manipulation of neuronal activity and gene expression in combination with behavioural assays.

Available projects

The Philipsborn group has projects available for Master, Bachelor and Erasmus students. Please contact Group Leader Anne von Philipsborn directly, if interested.

A Drosophila male sings to a female by extending and vibrating one wing (Photo: Solvin Zankl). The Drosophila central nervous system with three neuronal classes (blue, red, green), which control courtship behavior and song generation.

News

(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.

2013.11.12 | People

DANDRITE APPOINTS THE FIRST TWO RESEARCH GROUP LEADERS

DANDRITE has appointed Anne von Philipsborn and Mark Denham as Group Leaders. These appointments are the first two in a series of five group leaders to be employed at DANDRITE. Anne and Mark will start their research in December and January, respectively.

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