Mario DE BONO - Neural circuits and behaviour, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK)


Mario DE BONO is a great and passionate scientist who shook the C. elegans world 15 years ago with the discovery of social behavior in C. elegans. Since, his laboratory has made amazing and very original work on understanding the neurobiology of organism behavior. 


We seek to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms that underpin the properties of neurons, and in turn how these properties shape neural circuit activity to generate behaviour. To address these questions we combine the powerful genetics and well-described nervous system of C. elegans with optogenetics and neural imaging. We have focused on aggregation, a robust behavior that is neuronally complex but amenable to dissection at both genetic and neural circuit levels. This led us to study circuits that continuously signal oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the environment and that shape global animal state and physiology. Genetic screens suggest a wealth of genes regulate aggregation. Genomics is allowing us to identify them quickly. A substantial fraction of molecules already identified are conserved but poorly characterized in any organism. Systematic analysis of batteries of molecules that act together provides a powerful way to discern function for these molecules, with implications across organisms. Our molecular studies are rooted in the function of identified neurons and neural circuits in coordinating behaviour. These studies therefore also allow us to trace flow of information from sensory input to motor output in a simple but complete nervous system. With this comes an opportunity to identify general and perhaps conserved principles by which neural circuits process information.

Invited by Damien Coudreuse

>> Friday, September 11, 2015 at 11:00 - IGDR conference room (Ground floor, Building 4 / Villejean Campus / Rennes)

This seminar was conducted in English ​