Welcome to our research section

Our lab is interested in locomotor behaviours of flying animals. In particular, we work with the tiny fruit fly Drosophila at neurobiological and physical levels, including behavioral genetics. Our main interest is to understand how a fly controls its body posture and flight path using sensory organs, such as the compound eyes, ocelli, halteres, and campaniform sensilla. Dissection of vision-guided behaviors and muscle function is one major goal of our research. Since flight steering occurs within milliseconds, Drosophila is a unique model organism for high-speed motor control within the animal kingdom.

Flight in fruit flies

Fruit flies are tiny (1-2mg) and flap their wings at frequencies of more
than 200 Hz. Flight results from the integration of sensory feedback.

Besides biological mechanisms, the lab also works on how wing motion is transformed into aerodynamic forces during maneuvering flight. We use robotic replicates of insect wings and study biomaterial properties in order to understand vortex dynamics and control. This research includes various tools from Engineerung to Physics including computational modelling of air flows and the function of the fly brain.

If you have specific questions please contact:

Flight maneuvers in flies

A 90 degree turning maneuver (saccade) in fruit flies lasts only
~100 ms. This is ~1/4th of the human sensumotor reaction time.