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Fly lab - Research

Cell Type Specification During Eye Development


A fundamental problem common to the development of most sensory systems is the generation of functionally distinct neuronal cell types. The visual system constitutes a unique model to study the generation of cellular diversity within an otherwise homogeneous neuronal population. We use the fly retina to dissect signaling events that regulate the late phase of eye development, in particular those that control the selective expression of different rhodopsin genes in distinct photoreceptor (PR) subtypes. In many cases it has been shown that factors important for the development of the fly retina may also play a role in the vertebrate retina. Thus, in addition to the elucidation of basic developmental processes, our studies will aid the development of tools to fight eye diseases in humans.

Sensory Receptor Exclusion in the Olfactory System of Flies


A common phenomenon in sensory systems is the expression of one sensory receptor per sensory neuron. However, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are largely unknown. The maxillary palp of Drosophila melanogaster presents a unique model to study mechanisms of sensory receptor exclusion.
We are currently investigating the role of the transcription factors of the iroC family for their involvement in this process.

Role of Cell Adhesion Molecules and Glial Cells in Olfactory System and Mushroom Body Development


The role of glial cells in shaping the nervous system is well established. We are investigating the role of a cell adhesion molecule identified in our lab for its involvement in the establishment of proper connections in the olfactory system and the mushroom body.

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