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Dr Paul Szyszka

Starting February 2019PaulSzyszka


Lab Website

Google Scholar



Research Interests

We seek to understand how the brain encodes behaviorally relevant information. To drive the full range of neural computations performed by the brain, we test the limits of perception and learning in insects using naturalistic stimuli. We explore olfactory behavior in insects that have evolved to solve specific tasks, such as olfactory learning and navigation in honey bees, and we use Drosophila to test the causal relationship between neuronal activity and behavior by exploiting the genetic tools for manipulating and monitoring activity in identified neurons. The methods we use are comprised of behavioral analysis, functional imaging and electrophysiology.


Potential Postgraduate Projects

  • Neural bases of odor-background segregation
  • Active smelling strategies during odor search
  • Olfactory spatial learning
  • Social effects on olfactory learning

Current Research Students

  • Aarti Sehdev (University of Konstanz, Germany) – PhD 'Olfactory object recognition in insects'
  • Yunusa G. Mohammed (University of Konstanz, Germany) – PhD 'Olfactory learning and search in Drosophila'


Olfactory object recognition based on fine-scale stimulus timing in Drosophila
Sehdev A*, Mohammed YG*, Triphan T, Szyszka P
bioRxiv, 2018

High precision of spike timing across olfactory receptor neurons allows rapid odor coding in Drosophila
Egea-Weiss A*, Renner A*, Kleineidam CJ, Szyszka P
iScience, 2018

Calcium in Kenyon Cell Somata as a Substrate for an Olfactory Sensory Memory in Drosophila
Lüdke A, Raiser G, Nehrkorn J, Herz AVM, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 2018

The role of the sucrose-responsive IR60b neuron for Drosophila melanogaster: A hypothesis
Szyszka P, Galizia CG
Chemical Senses, 2018

Task-related phasing of circadian rhythms in antennal responsiveness to general odorants and pheromones in honeybees
Nagari M, Szyszka P, Galizia CG, Bloch G
J Biol Rhythms, 2017, 32(6):593-608

Trace conditioning in Drosophila induces associative plasticity in mushroom body Kenyon cells and dopaminergic neurons
Dylla KV, Raiser G, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
Front Neural Circuits, 2017, 11: 42

A high-bandwidth dual-channel olfactory stimulator for studying temporal sensitivity of olfactory processing
Raiser G, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
Chem Senses, 2017, 42: 141-151

Modelling active antennal movements of the American cockroach: towards biorobotic models of active sensing
Pequeno-Zurro A, Nitschke J, Szyszka P, Shaikh D, Couzin-Fuchs E
2nd International Symposium on Swarm Behavior and Bio-Inspired Robotics, 2017

Dynamics of odor-evoked activity patterns in the olfactory system
Nowotny T, Szyszka P
Chapter in: Aronson IS, Pikovsky A, Rulkov NF, Tsimring L (eds.) “Advances in Dynamics, Patterns, Cognition”, 2017, Springer International Publishing

Asymmetric neural coding revealed by in vivo calcium imaging in the honey bee brain
Rigosi E, Haase A, Rath L, Anfora G, Vallortigara G, Szyszka P
Proceedings B, 2015, 282 (1803)

Interactive tracking of insect posture
Shen M, Li C, Huang W, Szyszka P, Shirahama K, Grzegorzek M, Merhof D, Deussen O
Pattern Recognition, 2015, 48: 3560–3571

Automated tracking and analysis of behavior in restrained insects
Shen M, Szyszka P, Deussen O, Galizia CG, Merhof D
J Neurosci Methods, 2015, 239:194-205

Olfaction in insects
Szyszka P, Galizia CG
Chapter in: Richard L. Doty (ed.) “Handbook of olfaction & gustation”, 2015, Wiley

High-speed odor transduction and pulse tracking by insect olfactory receptor neurons
Szyszka P, Gerkin RC, Galizia CG, Smith BH
PNAS, 2014, 111:16925-30

Effect of GABAergic Inhibition on odorant concentration coding in mushroom body intrinsic neurons of the honeybee
Froese A, Szyszka P, Menzel R
J Comp Physiol A, 2014, 200:183-95

Converging circuits mediate temperature and shock aversive olfactory conditioning in Drosophila
Galili DS, Dylla KV, Lüdke A, Friedrich AB, Yamagata N, Wong JYH, Ho CH, Szyszka P, Tanimoto H
Current Biology, 2014, 24:1712-22

Rapid learning dynamics in individual honeybees during classical conditioning
Pamir E*, Szyszka P*, Scheiner R, Nawrot MP
Front Behav Neurosci, 2014, 8:313

Mixture processing and odor-object segregation in insects
Szyszka P, Stierle JS
Prog Brain Res, 2014, 208:63-85

Follow the odor
Szyszka P
Science, 2014, 344:1454

Trace conditioning in insects – Keep the trace!
Dylla KV, Galili DS, Szyszka P, Lüdke A
Front Physiol, 2013, 4:67

Millisecond stimulus onset-asynchrony enhances information about components in an odor mixture
Stierle JS, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
J Neurosci, 2013, 33:6060-6069

Data-driven honeybee antennal lobe model suggests how stimulus-onset asynchrony can aid odour segregation
Nowotny T, Stierle JS, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
Brain Res, 2013, 1536:119-134

The looks of an odour - Visualising neural odour response patterns in real time
Strauch M, Müthing C, Broeg MP, Szyszka P, Münch D, Laudes T, Deussen O, Galizia CG, Merhof D
BMC Bioinformatics, 2013, 14 (Suppl 19)

The speed of smell: Odor-object segregation within milliseconds
Szyszka P, Stierle JS, Biergans S, Galizia CG
PLoS One, 2012, 7(4): e36096

INCIDE the brain of a bee: Visualising honeybee brain activity in real time by semantic segmentation
Strauch M, Broeg MP, Müthing C, Szyszka P, Deussen O, Galizia CG, Merhof D
Biological Data Visualization, 2012, IEEE Symposium 17-24

DNA methylation mediates the discriminatory power of associative long-term memory in honeybees
Biergans SD, Jones JC, Treiber N, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
PloS One, 2012, 7(6):e39349

Multiple memory traces after associative learning in the honey bee antennal lobe
Rath L, Galizia CG, Szyszka P
Eur J Neurosci, 2011, 34:352-360

Olfactory trace conditioning in Drosophila
Galili DS, Lüdke A, Galizia CG, Szyszka P, Tanimoto H
J Neurosci, 2011, 31:7240-7248.

Mind the gap: Olfactory trace conditioning in honeybees
Szyszka P, Demmler C, Oemisch M, Sommer L, Biergans S, Birnbach B, Silbering AF, Galizia CG
J Neurosci, 2011, 31:7229-7239

Differential odor processing in two olfactory pathways in the honeybee
Yamagata N, Schmuker M, Szyszka P, Mizunami M, Menzel R
Front Syst Neurosci, 2009, 3:16

Olfactory coding in the insect brain: Molecular receptive ranges, spatial and temporal coding
Galizia CG, Szyszka P
Entomologia Experimentalis Et Applicata, 2008, 128:81-92

Associative and non-associative plasticity in Kenyon cells of the honeybee mushroom body
Szyszka P, Galkin A, Menzel R
Front Syst Neurosci, 2008, 2:3

Sparsening and temporal sharpening of olfactory representations in the honeybee mushroom bodies
Szyszka P, Ditzen M, Galkin A, Galizia CG, Menzel R
Journal of Neurophysiology, 2005, 94:3303-3313

Odor coding in projection neurons of the honeybee brain
Menzel R, Galizia G, Müller D, Szyszka P
Chem Senses, 2005, 30: I301-i302

Uncovering short-time correlations between multichannel recordings of brain activity: A phase-space approach
Galan RF, Ritz R, Herz AVM, Szyszka P
International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 2004, 14:585-597

Analysis of odor processing in the mushroom bodies of the honeybee
Ritz R, Galan RF, Szyszka P, Herz AVM
Neurocomputing, 2001, 38:313-318

* equal contribution