The Wellcome Trust is currently funding an international effort to understand the organisation of the fruit fly brain at the level of individual neurons and their synaptic connections. We represent the University of Cambridge branch of this enterprise, headed by Dr Gregory Jefferis (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology) and Dr Matthias Landgraf (Department of Zoology). Along with collaborators at HHMI Janelia Research Campus (USA) and the University of Oxford, we work with an electron microscopy volume of a whole adult female fly brain generated at Janelia, using a software package called CATMAID to trace, reconstruct, and annotate individual neurons. Our main goal is to elucidate the neural circuitry that underlies olfaction and olfactory-associated learning and memory.
This blog is intended to make our work accessible to anyone interested, as well as scientific colleagues. We will be posting on the history, methods, and findings of Connectomics as well as some of the neurobiological questions currently being researched in Drosophila, particularly olfaction and learning and memory.