I am a neuroethologist interested in understanding of how neuronal circuits (sensory and motor) are adapted to their respective tasks. I have pursued this question in a number of model systems, based on the Krogh principle (animals experts at respective tasks have characteristic and pronounced neural circuits especially amendable for investigations). Thus, my work is not centered on one animal model, but on the most suitable ones for my quite diverse research questions.
I am interested in the functionality and evolution of sensory-motor networks with a special interest in central pattern generators (CPGs) of the vertebrate spinal cord. I use two non-standard model organisms – the rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) and the mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarus) – to investigate morphological and functional adaptations within and between spinal CPGs, which might contribute to the development of novel motor behaviors. The focus of investigations in the rattlesnake is on differences in body and tail CPGs, which enable the control of motor behaviors in vastly different precision and frequency regimes (i.e. locomotion and rattling). In mudskippers, I am interested in the connectivity and interplay between pectoral, pelvic and axial motor networks and how network patterns and interplay change during the execution of different motor programs, i.e. swimming and “walking” on land.To investigate these questions, I use methods including behavioral observation, whole-cord and slice electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry and tract tracing.
Daniel Carlos Corrales Parada
I am a cognitive neuroscientist interested in the evolution of cognition and social behavior in different animal species. In all vertebrates the control of social related behaviors is mediated by the Social Behavior Network (SBN), a network of highly interconnected brain areas enriched in sex steroid receptors. The aim of my PhD studies is to investigate the neural substrates of the reception of social acoustic and electric signals in three different species of Synodontis, which differ in their communication channels. By using behavioral experiments and neurobiological methods, I aim to investigate how areas of the SBN are interacting with each other and with the electroreceptive and acoustic systems during social communication and which sensory modalities are fundamental for the recognition of conspecifics in these fish species.
During my PhD, I am investigating sensory processing in the brain of goby fishes. For this, I will look at the neuroanatomical basis, the connectivity, as well as the function and the sensory input that can possibly be connected to the neuronal pathways.
I am also interested in the motoric dualism of the pectoral fin in hatchet fish and the underlying neuronal differences underlying this dualism.
During my PhD, I am doing research on the wings of Orthopterans and their associated songs. I am interested in the characteristics of the wings, such as material, surface and vibration properties. I try to establish the connection between these properties and the differences in the songs of the insects. The aim is to implement methods that allow us to evaluate these properties in order to create a model of the insects wings.
If you are interested in our work or would like to join the lab for an internship, bachelor, master or PhD thesis, or as a postdocotral fellow, feel welcome to reach out to us.