Institute for Biology I – Reiff Lab

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Department for Animal Physiology, Neurobiology and Behavior
Institute for Biology
University of Freiburg

Hauptstraße 1
79104 Freiburg

How to get there

By train

From Freiburg Hbf (Central station) take tram line 4 (to station: Hauptstraße), local train connections (direction Offenburg) to station Freiburg Herdern (only 1 station) or bus line 27 (to station: Herdern Kirche) and then by foot: 5 minutes

By car

From south (e.g. Basel): Motorway A5 Basel-Karlsruhe; take gateway 62: „Freiburg Mitte” (Center). Take the B31a direction “Freiburg/Donaueschingen”. Take B3 (exit “Merzhausen”) and turn right onto Stefan-Meier Straße. After the prison turn right onto Tennenbacherstraße and then turn left on Habsburgerstraße. The Hauptsraße is the third turn on the right side. From north (e.g. Karlsruhe): Motorway A5 Karlsruhe-Basel; take gateway 61: „Freiburg Nord” (North). Take the B294 direction “Freiburg-Nord/Waldkirch/Elztal/Glottertal/Gundelfingen”. Follow B294/B3 until you arrive at Habsburgerstraße. Then turn left into the Hauptstraße.

By airplane

Approx. 1 hour bus ride from the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg or 2 to 3 hours by train or car from Frankfurt, Stuttgart or Zürich airports.

Our lab is interested in visual information processing and the control of visually guided behaviour in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). Small animals like fruit flies exhibit stunningly complex and robust innate behaviours that warrant survival and reproduction of the animal. Thereby, behaviour is controlled by neural circuitries of small size and aparantly apparently reduced complexity. About 100.000 neurons, that may fall into maximallyum 150 different neuronal classes, establish the connections and the highly repetitive micro-circuitries of the Drosophila visual system. Some of these neurons and circuitries are specialized in extracting and computing information on visual motion and colour from the visual scene. Identification and characterization of these neurons is at the focus of research in our lab.
Recent advances in technology and genetics have provided us with powerful tools for the precise genetic targeting of individual types of neurons and the manipulation and/or monitoring of neuronal activity in vivo during sensory processing in behaving or non-behaving flies. Using a combined genetic, physiological and behavioural approach we aim at disclosing the identity and function of the biological hardware underlying the detection of visual motion & colour and the control of visually guided behaviour. Interventional genetics are used to establish causal relationships between the activity of identified neurons and a given visual computation or behaviour. Our work is aided by the recent finding that motion and colour information is processed in partially overlapping sets of photoreceptors and downstream neurons. Finally, in a recent and fascinating project we started to investigate the role of Down-Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecules in the development, growth, connectivity and function of an identified visual circuitry of the fly.