Florencia Campetella

   Research Group Olfactory Coding
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1465Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:-Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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PhD Thesis

started in Mar 2015
Neural mechanisms underlying innate and learnt olfactory-dependent behavior in insects
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Biologisch-Pharmazeutische Fakultät
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. R. Beutel (FSU)
Co-Supervisor(s): Prof. Dr. B.S. Hansson, Dr. S. Sachse, Dr. R. Ignell (SLU Alnarp)

Seven to eight million people are infected worldwide with American trypanosomiasis, also known as Chagas’ disease. This disease is caused by the protozoan Tripanosoma cruzi and is spread by insect vectors who are species of the family of Triatominae (i.e. triatomines). These bugs are predominantly found in poor and rural areas of Latin America, where they nest and infect humans. However, an increasing number of infections have been reported in Europe and the United States due to human mobility. In their complex sensory environments, triatomines are able to identify and decode specific signature blends and translate them into stereotyped behaviors that include aggregation, mating and host-seeking. Detecting a vertebrate host is a necessary condition for the bug to infect it. Thus there is a strong connection between odorants, behavior and infection. However, how olfactory information is processed and decoded by the olfactory system of triatomines is still unknown. Moreover, how odorants lead to specific stereotyped innate behaviors, such as host-seeking, remains to be elucidated. Using electrophysiology, optical imaging technology and specially designed behavioral assays, we will investigate the neural circuits underlying olfactory processing in the context of behavior in triatomines.
last updated on 2015-07-03