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Research interests

My goal is to identify and analyse the neuronal networks that are the basis of cognition. I focus my research on insect brains as their low neuron count necessitates elegant and efficient neuronal computation, and insects show cognitive behaviour.
Work in my lab splits into four categories:

  • Machine Learning and AI programming to build image recognition AIs and computational models.
  • Quantitative behaviour analysis with videography and image recognition algorithms
  • Genetic modification of insects and the biochemical approaches necessary.
  • Neurophysiological recordings and Ca2+ imaging to identify the role of specific neurons in cognitive tasks.

We are always happy to welcome new team members. Our approach is quantitative and computationally driven, but we are happy to teach you the necessary skills (programming, genetics, wet bench, etc.) to succeed.


Scientific Bio

Bart studied at the University of Cologne in Germany. He made his Diploma (master-equivalent from ages ago) in Neurobiology and Computer-science. For his Diploma thesis, he joined the lab of Prof. Dr David O'Carroll at the University of Adelaide, Australia. There he analysed the neuronal control of the small target motion detection of dragonflies (Link).
Bart continued his studies of insect vision during his PhD at Prof. Dr Egelhaaf's lab at Bielefeld University, Germany. During his PhD, he applied machine learning to continuously fluctuating data and developed a new quality measurement for these cases (Link). These novel machine-learning approaches allowed him to segment complex flight trajectories (Link) and find neuronal specialisations of fly species to their own flight patterns (Link).

Bart joined the lab of Martin Göpfert at the University of Göttingen, Germany, as a post-doc and broadened his field of interest. Here are some of the works from these days:

Since August 2022, Bart has been a lecturer for Neuroscience in the Department of Zoology and up to his usual shenanigans.


From our lab four PhDs, 19 Masters and 6 Bachelors emerged :)

  • Andrea Adden, 2014, Master thesis, Characterisation of the thermoreceptive organ in the antenna of Drosophila melanogaster & 2012 BSc thesis, The role of nompC in the thermoreceptive cells of Drosophila melanogaster
  • Irene Aji, 2018, Master thesis, A novel foraging optimisation strategy
  • Selina André, 2017, Master thesis, Danio rerio as a model organism for Hereditary spastic paraplegia & 2014, BSc thesis, Spatio-temporal optima in Drosophila melanogaster motion vision
  • Luisa Beckmann, 2018, Master thesis, Influence of prior knowledge on landmark selection and use in a virtual reality task
  • Miriam Berger, 2021, Master thesis, The role of Rh7 in locomotion & 2018, BSc thesis, Intersexual courtship behavior of light deprived Drosophila melanogaster
  • Laurin Büld, 2021, Master thesis, Interactions of mechano and thermo transduction in Drosophila melanogaster during locomotion
  • Alexander Busch, 2019, BSc thesis, Rocking Behavior Of Stick Insects - Effects Of Visual And Mechanosensory Cues
  • Katharina Brands, 2021, Master thesis, Preference via repetition - Approaches to investigate cognitive biases in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Dr Kristina Corthals, 2014-2018, PhD thesis,On the mechanisms of head body coordination in Drosophila melanogaster & 2013, Master thesis, Characterisation of a neuroligin 2 knock-out in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Lisse DeCraecker, 2016, Master thesis, Hearing and social behaviour in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Julia Eckmeier, 2019, Master thesis, Favouring more pain - Approaches to investigate cognitive biases in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Vranda Garg, 2019-now, PhD thesis, Zebrafish as a model organism for hereditary spastic paraplegia
  • Dr Diego Giraldo, 2014-2018, PhD thesis, Linking Senses: Rhodopsins in mechanosensation & 2014, Master thesis, The role of Rhodopsin in thermoreception and proprioception: A neuroethological approach
  • Isabell Großhenning, 2016, Master thesis, Drosophila melanogaster als Modellorganismus für Autismus-Spektrum-Störungen: Ein Vergleich des Sozialverhaltens des Wildtyps mit Neuroligin-Mutanten
  • Alina Heukamp, 2016, BSc thesis, Characterisation of a neuroligin 4 knock-out in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Luisa Heyer, 2018, Master thesis, Further evidence for Danio rerio as a model organism for Hereditary spastic paraplegia
  • Annika Hinze, 2018, Master thesis, Visual Evolution in the dark
  • Lena Hofman, 2021, Master thesis, Deep learning networks to model food choice in Drosophila melanogaster under cognitive biases
  • Dr Robert Kossen, 2015-2019, PhD thesis, Thermo and Mechano Sensation share transducers & 2013, Master thesis, Characterization of the T1-Neuron in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Ilyas Kuhlemann, 2016, Master thesis, A model of gain control in insect motion vision
  • Marcel Mertes, 2008, Master thesis, The influence of different stimulus devices on the response characteristics of horizontal system cells in the hoverfly Eristalis
  • Anne Oepen, 2020, Master thesis, Turbidity - Burden or Benefit? Optic Flow Based Odometry in a Semiaquatic Species: The Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina
  • Björn Twellsick, 2021, BSc thesis, The Effects Of Visual And Mechanosensory Stimuli On The Rocking Behavior Of Stick Insects


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