|Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown - CF|
Behaviour & Metabolism Laboratory
Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme
Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown
Av. Brasília s/n (Doca de Pedrouços)
1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal
Background and previous research experience
I completed my Bachelor’s degree at Cambridge University, where I studied Natural Sciences, specialising in Neuroscience. This was a very rewarding time, during which I worked on a project with Prof Roger Hardie, investigating the role of Arrestin in visual transduction in Drosophila. Prior to this, I also undertook a project at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, concerning the dopaminergic system of the larval zebrafish.
The decisions an animal makes depend not only upon the inputs it receives from its environment, but also upon its previous experience, and upon its current internal state. For example, feeding decisions can be modified by factors such as stress, arousal and nutritional status. My project aims to elucidate neuronal and molecular mechanisms through which internal states can modulate sensory processing and thus decision-making. In particular, I will focus on two internal states that result in profound changes to flies’ physiology and behaviour: mating status and protein intake. I will characterise how chemosensory behaviours are modulated by these internal states, and use state-of-the-art genetic techniques to elucidate necessary components for this modulation. I will identify the circuits on which this modulation acts, and ultimately how behavior arises from a combination of internal and external factors.