Plenary Speakers

Dr Karen Cheney
Research Fellow
School of Biological Sciences
Queensland Brain Institute
University of Queensland (UQ), Australia
Karen has a strong interest in the evolution of animal colour patterns, and particularly focuses on what they are used for and how they are perceived. She uses a variety of lab and field techniques, including behavioural experiments, spectrophotometry, theoretical visual modelling, and colour pattern measurements. Her main study animals are marine fish and invertebrates, including brightly coloured nudibranch molluscs and collaborates with chemists to understands how chemical defences are related to colour signals. Karen received her PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK and later travelled to Australia on a Royal Society Fellowship. She now works at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr Michael Dickinson
Zarem Profressor of Bioengineering & Biology
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Complex and intellectually challenging problems can be so commonplace that they escape our attention. The research in my lab focuses on one such everyday phenomenon – the motion of a fly through the air. While the buzz of fly wings is more likely to elicit a sense of annoyance than wonder, insect flight behavior links a series of fundamental processes within both the physical and biological sciences: neuronal signaling within brains, the dynamics of unsteady fluid flow, musculoskeletal mechanics, the structural mechanics of composite materials, ecology and evolution. The aim of my research is to elucidate the means by which flies accomplish their aerodynamic feats using an interdisciplinary approach. I received a Ph. D. in Zoology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1991 and then worked briefly at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen before starting my own lab as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago in 1991. I am currently the Abe and Esther Zarem Professor in the Division of Biology and Bioengineering at Caltech.

Professor Giovanni Galizia
Professor for Neuroscience
University of Konstanz, Germany
Giovanni Galizia is professor for neuroscience at the University of Konstanz, Germany, since 2005, and Director of the Zukunftskolleg (a center for advanced studies for young researchers) at the same University. He studies the olfactory system in insects. Before Konstanz, he was Associate Professor for Entomology in Riverside, California (2003-2005) and Research Group Leader at the Freie Universität Berlin (1999-2005). He holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, UK (1993).

Professor Azusa Kamikouchi, PhD
Neuroscience Institute of the Graduate School of Science
Nagoya University, Japan
The aim of my research is to understand the basic principle how the brain works. Especially, I have a strong interest in the auditory system and one of my questions is how acoustic signals are detected, processed, and integrated in the brain. The fruit fly is an ideal model organism for such a task, because of its sophisticated genetic tools to analyze neurons and manipulate neural circuits in the brain. I started a project to unravel the anatomical and functional organization of the auditory system of fruit flies at the National Institute for Basic Biology, Japan in 2002. Then I moved to the University of Tokyo, to establish a comprehensive projection map of the auditory sensory neurons. To extend this map into a functional map, I moved to the University of Cologne, at Martin C. Göpfert’s group (now in Göttingen). In 2008 I went back to Japan as an associate professor at Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences and then moved to Nagoya Univeisity in 2011 as a full-professor.

Dr William B Kristan, Jr, PhD
Emeritus Distinguished Professor
Section of Neurobiology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, USA
Bill has studied the neuronal circuits for several behaviors (bending, shortening, crawling, swimming, feeding) in the medicinal leech as well as the ways that these behaviors are chosen when activated simultaneously. Along with Dr. Kathy French, he has also studied the development of leech neurons and their connections. Bill received his PhD in Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania, then did postdoctoral research at Stanford and UC Berkeley before joining the faculty of the Biology Department at UCSD, where he spent his career.

Professor Lauren O’Connell
Assistant Professor
Stanford University, USA
Lauren’s research focuses on understanding how evolutionary innovations in behavior and physiology arise. Lauren uses poison frogs as a model for understanding how variation in predation and spatial structure of the environment has driven the evolution of chemical defences and parental behaviors. Lauren’s research combines both lab and field studies to understand the neural basis of decision-making within ecologically relevant contexts. Lauren was a Bauer Fellow at Harvard University before joining the Department of Biology at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor.

Professor Ana Silva
Associate Professor
Instituto Clemente Estable – Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay
Ana’s research focuses on understanding the neuroendocrine bases of social behavior in general, and agonistic behavior in particular. Combining field and lab approaches, Ana´s research seeks to understand how aggression shapes the spacing behavior of species in the wild, as well as how the brain controls the acquisition and consolidation of the dominance-subordinate status. To do so, Ana´s group has been working on a native species of South American weakly electric fish, in which they have identified a uniquely clear-cut example of pure territorial aggression among teleosts. Ana directs the Laboratory of Neuroscience of the School of Sciences at Universidad de la República as Associate Professor, and the Unit of Neural Bases of Behavior at the Instituto Clemente Estable as Associate Researcher.

Professor Mandyam V Srinivasan
Professor of Visual and Sensory Neuroscience and Electrical Engineering
Queensland Brain Institute and School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
University of Queensland, Australia
Srinivasan’s research focuses on the principles of visual processing, perception and cognition in simple natural systems, and on the application of these principles to machine vision and robotics. He holds a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University, an M.E. in Electronics from the Indian Institute of Science, a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University, a D.Sc. in Neuroethology from the Australian National University, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Zurich. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and of the Royal Society of London.

Professor Yossi Yovel
Head of NeuroEcology
Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Yossi Yovel is the head of the NeuroEcology lab in Tel-Aviv University. The lab aims to address the gap between Neuroscience and Ecology by developing miniature technologies that enable to conduct controlled experiments with wild animals in their natural environment. The lab focuses on echolocating bats and is interested in a wide range of fundamental behaviors including long and short-range navigation, social networks and collective behavior, sensory decision making, inter-sensory integration, and vocal communication, as well as bio-sonar and bio-inspired robotics.