Computational Neuroethology of Social Flexibility


Life in a social world requires flexibility at several timescales: at fast timescales, social partners rapidly integrate information about each other to initiate adequate behavioral responses, while at slow timescales, individuals update behavioral strategies through learning from past social experience (feedback). Impairments in the ability to adjust to social feedback can strongly reduce the quality of life. Despite its relevance, the flexibility of social behavior is not yet understood at the level of neural circuits. Our research aims at revealing the key principles underlying the flexibility and neural control of social behavior, using courtship behavior of the vinegar fly, Drosophila, as a model system. This will allow us to combine the wealth of available opto- and neurogenetic tools, high-resolution experiments with freely behaving animals, and neural circuit modeling to gain mechanistic insights.

Selected recent publications:

Roemschied FA, Pacheco DA, Aragon MJ, Ireland EC, Li X, Thieringer K, Pang R & Murthy M (2023). Flexible circuit mechanisms for context-dependent song sequencing. Nature (2023).

Clemens J*, Coen P*, Roemschied FA*, Pereira T, Mazumder D, Aldarondo DE, Pacheco DA, Murthy M (2018). Discovery of a new song mode in Drosophila reveals hidden structure in the sensory and neural drivers of behavior. Current Biology 28(15), 2400-2412.e6. (* equal contribution)

Roemschied FA, Eberhard MJB, Schleimer J-H, Ronacher B, Schreiber S (2014). Cell-intrinsic mechanisms of temperature compensation in a grasshopper sensory receptor neuron. eLife 2014;3:e02078.