Equipment & Techniques
To study the relationship between circuit structure and function, we must know the synaptic connectivity that defines the circuit structure, observe the activity of the neurons in the circuit over time, study how the pattern of activity can change through neuromodulation, and discover the causal relationship between the neurons of the circuit and the behaviours that the circuit governs. And with these data, we can formulate models on the basis of synaptic connectivity that can capture the circuit dynamics, and that can explain how the circuits produce the observed behaviours, and then test these models experimentally. We do all of the above and more in the Drosophila larva, an organism with about 12,000 neurons and an outstanding genetic toolkit for observing and manipulating the activity of its neurons.
The complete connectome of the Drosophila larval brain
The connectome of the Drosophila larval brain. The morphologies of all brain neurons, reconstructed from a synapse-resolution EM volume, and the synaptic connectivity matrix of an entire brain. This connectivity information was used to hierarchically cluster all brains into 93 cell types, which were internally consistent based on morphology and known function.