News & Updates

New papers

Two new papers from our lab have come out over the summer in eLife:

  • A unified platform to manage, share, and archive morphological and functional data in insect neuroscience (10.7554/elife.65376)

  • A projectome of the bumblebee central complex (10.7554/eLife.68911)

The first one introduces our multispecies platform for depositing anatomical and physiological data from insect brains, while the second one is the first account of using block-face EM imaging to delineate the neuroarchitecture of the CX in a species other than the fruit fly.

New preprint: A Bumblebee CX Projectome

After six years of work the first paper from our comparative connectomics work has come to life! Started over a beer at a conference in Cairns, Australia in 2015, we have come a long way. Imaging was done by Rachel Templin at the Center for Microscopy and Microanalysis at the University fo Queensland, Australia. Most reconstructions were done by Johanna Chavez, and more recently by Julian Kempenaers. Marcel Sayre has put it all together, spending endless hours analyzing the data, making amazing figures and writing up this manuscript into a coherent and exciting story about brain evolution, nagivation circuits, and about how much of a fly brain is found in a bee brain!

Nanotechnology and insect CX

Resulting from a multidisciplinary collaboration with physics, engineering, computer science and biology, we just published a new paper describing how we can potentially build a hardware implementation of the insect CX circuit model of path integration by using nanophotonic 'neurons'. Hope fully we can start building this soon! Looking forward to a continued collaboration between our lab and Anders Mikkelsen, Barbara Webb and others at NanoLund.

New postdoc in the lab: Rickesh Patel

This week Rickesh has joined our group as a new postdoc. Over the next two years, he will work on developing a robust behavioral essay for path integration in walking bumblebees and then translate this behavior into a virtual reality setup. When path integrating on an air supported treadmill, the next stel will be to achieve tetrode recordings from the central complex. The goal is to directly observe the path integration memory being acccumulated in the proposed memory cells of the central-complex circuitry.

Rickesh Patel
Rickesh Patel

A glimpse of new data

Marcel has generated a magnificent new dataset of the Cataglyphis fortis central complex. Using multiresolution blockface electron microscopy (at CMM, QBI, Australia), he has obtained a 30nm overview dataset of the entire central complex of this classic model species for navigation, as well as synaptic resolution image stacks from subregions of each central-complex compartment. Here is a glimpse of a slice of the PB, raw on the left and filtered on the right (ready for automatic neuron tracking?).

30nm dataset: Cataglyphis fortis central complex
30nm dataset: Cataglyphis fortis central complex