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Biology Colloquium | Salil S. Bidaye

October 26 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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Event Details

Speaker: Salil S. Bidaye
Research Group Leader,
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Title:     Building remote-controlled fruit flies to understand the neural control of walking

Meeting ID: 997 1849 7492
Passcode: GIj226TP
Abstract:  A stationary animal can instantaneously initiate goal appropriate walking. For example, a gazelle will instantaneously sprint into an escape at the sight of a cheetah, or in the absence of predators, it might spontaneously trot towards a grassy patch. It is unclear how brain circuits recruit the downstream spinal motor circuits in an instantaneous and task specific manner to manifest an appropriate walking output.

Insects manage to do all these walking maneuvers with relatively few neurons and hence offer an attractive model to figure out the underlying neural circuit principles. In this work, we leveraged genetic tools in the fruit-fly to uncover brain pathways for walking initiation. Using a combination of novel behavioral assays and fly genetics, we identified two neuronal pathways in the fly brain that initiate two distinct forward walking patterns. Neuronal activity imaging and silencing during naturalistic behaviors showed that these two neurons are central nodes in two distinct walking initiation pathways. the first pathway is specifically involved in object directed walking, whereas the second pathway is involved in sprinting and exploratory walking. Combined with our previous work on backward directed walking, we have now shown that the brain can “switch-on” the downstream walking pattern generating circuits in distinct and task-specific manners.

Speaker’s Bio: Dr. Bidaye started his Research Group Leader position at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in April 2021, leading the Neuronal Control of Locomotion group. His research focuses on understanding how fast and precise locomotor decisions are executed at the level of genetically defined neural circuits.

Prior to this Dr. Bidaye was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California – Berkeley in the lab of Professor Kristin Scott. Before that, he earned his Ph.D. at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna in Dr. Barry Dickson’s laboratory.



October 26
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Department of Biology