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New PhD student at DANDRITE

Sophie Seidenbecher started as a PhD student per 1 May 2016 in Duda Kvitsiani's group. Sophie’s research focus will be on understanding the molecular basis of foraging decisions in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Using a recently developed single fly reward foraging assay, she will build computational models of food foraging behavior. Next she will carry out genetic screens for mutant flies that compromise this behavior. Thus various mutant lines will be analyzed through the prism of quantitative models to uncover key molecular players that regulate specific aspects of food foraging decisions. Since food foraging is the task faced by all moving animals, hope is that newly discovered genes from the screen will be conserved through evolution and hence relevant for human behavior and decision making. Furthermore, she will also test if humans use the same heuristics as flies to forage in uncertain environments which will help to see commonalities across vastly different species.