Robin Hiesinger received his PhD in 2000 and after a postdoc with Hugo Bellen until 2006 ran a lab until 2015 in the US and ever since in Berlin, Germany. The Hiesinger lab uses genetics, live imaging and computational modeling to study the unfolding of genomic information during brain wiring. With this focus, Robin leads a 13 lab research consortium (RobustCircuit.org), is a current recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant (SynPromiscuity.flygen.org), and author of the book The Self-Assembling Brain (SelfAssemblingBrain.com). More information on the lab is available at flygen.org
Visual Map Formation in Drosophila
Precise synaptic connectivity is a prerequisite for the function of neural circuits, yet individual neurons, taken out of their developmental context, readily form unspecific synapses. How does genetically encoded brain wiring deal with this apparent contradiction? Brain wiring is a developmental growth process that is not only characterized by precision, but also flexibility and robustness. As in any other growth process, cellular interactions are restricted in space and time. Correspondingly, molecular and cellular interactions are restricted to those that ‘get to see’ each other during development. This seminar will explore the question how developmental patterning can ensure both specificity and robustness of brain wiring using the Drosophila visual system as a model.