Neuroengineering Laboratory

Latest research

Welcome to the Ramdya Lab, Firmenich Next Generation Chair of Neuroengineering

We are reverse-engineering the fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to understand how biological systems leverage social information, learn about the world, and generate flexible motor behaviors. We aim to translate this understanding toward designing more intelligent robots.

Flies are ideal for this goal: they generate complex behaviors yet have a small nervous system and are genetically malleable. To enable our research we use microscopy, machine learning, genetics, and computational models. At EPFL, we are part of the Brain Mind Institute and Institute of Bioengineering in the School of Life Sciences. Enjoy your visit!

Some tools we recently developed

Recording neural activity during behavior

We combine genetics, 2-photon microscopy, and machine learning-based image analysis to establish links between neural activity and behavior. Relevant publications: Hermans, Kaynak et al., Nature Communications 2022, Chen, Hermans et al., Nature Communications 2018

Building computational models of Drosophila

We have developed computational simulations to capture the core neuromechanical mechanisms that orchestrate behavior. These models synthesize our biological data, generate predictions for future experiments, and inspire the development of bioinspired robotic controllers. Relevant publications: Lobato et al., Nature Methods, 2022, Ramdya, Thandiackal et al., Nature Communications, 2017

Drawing links between neuronal activity and behavior

We use deep-learning based pose estimation and optogenetic neuronal activation and silencing to quantify the links between neural activity and behavior. Relevant publications: Gosztolai, Günel et al. Nature Methods 2021, Günel et al. Elife 2019

Robotic experimental automation

We build robotic systems and computational data analysis pipelines to automate high-throughput biological experiments. This allows us to rapidly screen behavioral phenotypes. Relevant publications: Ramdya et al., Nature 2015, Maesani, Ramdya et al., PLoS Computational Biology 2015


Latest News

22-12-12: Jasper was awarded an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship
22-11-08: Our study revealing ascending neuron behavioral encoding was accepted to Nature Neuroscience
22-11-06: Jasper was awarded a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
22-10-13: Our work describing descending neuron population activity during behavior was accepted to Elife
22-07-14: Femke was awarded a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship
22-06-24: Our work describing microengineered devices for long-term neural recordings was accepted to Nature Communications
22-03-23: Sibo was awarded a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship
22-03-03: Our review on network theoretical analysis of connectomes and animal collectives was accepted to Current Opinion in Neurobiology
21-12-23: Our work describing a neuromechanical model of Drosophila, NeuroMechFly, was accepted to Nature Methods
21-06-08: Matthias was awarded a Fondation Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellowship
21-05-14: Our work describing LiftPose3D pose estimation software was accepted to Nature Methods
21-05-05: Gizem was awarded a Swiss Government Excellence PhD Fellowship
20-11-18: Jonas was awarded a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship