Genes and Behavior
Our research group studies the mechanism and evolution of several fascinating collective behaviors in nematode species including C. elegans. We employ advanced technologies and highly interdisciplinary approaches in our endeavor.
You may very well know C. elegans as a favorite laboratory model organism with exceptional experimental manipulability and tractability. But did you also know that amazing things happen when many of these tiny worms come together?
Collective behavior is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom and is simply fascinating to observe and study. Researchers of animal collective behavior ask how and why animals behave collectively in their study system, and attempt to extract universal principles by examining across different systems.
A number of exciting collective behavior have recently been described and characterized in C. elegans and related nematode species. These include towering, wurmuration, and aggregation. With our powerful study system, we can determine the mechanism of collective behavior across the genetic, neuronal, and behavioral levels. We can also ask questions about the evolution of collective behavior, both through a comparative lens to infer the evolutionary past, and by experimentally evolving the system forward.
We are an interdisciplinary team with combined expertise in quantitative behavior, neuroscience, molecular biology, evolutionary biology, statistical physics, and complex system modelling. We work closely together to unravel the mechanism and evolution of these fascinating and important behaviors in nematodes. With so much to discover, we welcome new group members and collaborators from diverse research backgrounds and career stages to join us. For more detailed information on our group and projects, please also visit our external lab page.