Exploring the Functional Logic of Fruit Fly Brain Circuits

Projects Description

Due to its powerful neurogenetic toolkit and the numerical tractability of its brain, the fruit fly is a key model organism for studying the causal links between neural circuits and behavior. Recent progress made in identifying the connectome/ synaptome of the fruit fly brain and in characterizing the input and output map of its sensory neural circuits raises the possibility of creating and emulating functional models of any of its neuropils on increasingly powerful commodity parallel computing clusters.

Students are expected to emulate and extensively explore the functional logic of local processing units (aka neuropils) comprising the architecture of the fruit fly brain. Each project is offered as a 3.0+ credits course (such as ELEN E6002 - Advanced Projects, or ELEN E4998 - Intermediate Projects).


Familiarity with linear algebra and signal processing. Background in computing with brain circuits (e.g., ECBM E4070/6070) or deep learning (e.g., ECBM E4040) is a prerequisite. Exposure to an introductory course in neuroscience/biology is a plus.

Programming Languages and Skills

  • Knowledge of Python is required.
  • Familiarity with interactive computing (e.g., Jupyter lab) is a plus.

How to Apply:

If you have any question, please send inquiries to Prof. Aurel A. Lazar. To apply, submit your CV/Resume to the same e-mail address.

We strongly encourage applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, and other individuals who are under-represented in science and engineering.

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