Johannes Larsch

Project Leader

Main Focus

Project: The Neural Basis of Social Recognition and Affiliation

My aim is to understand how social interactions emerge from neural computations in individual animals. In previous work, we identified fundamental visual cues inducing robus zebrafish interactions with virtual reality avatars and we defined how individual animals contribute to this mutal behavior (Larsch & Baier 2018). Current work leverages this discovery to investigate the underlying neural circuitry and effect of naturally occurring genetic variation and human disease associated mutations on zebrafish social behavior. (Link to projectpage).


Dipl. in biology, 2008. University of Konstanz, Germany and The Rockefeller University, NYC, U.S.A. with Prof. Leslie Vosshall and Prof. Giovanni Galizia.

Ph.D. 2014, The Rockefeller University, NYC, U.S.A. with Prof. Cori Bargmann


Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Ph.D. Fellow 2009 – 2011

German National Academic Foundation Fellow 2004 – 2008

Selected Publications

  1. Larsch, J. & Baier, H. (2018). Biological Motion as an Innate Perceptual Mechanism Driving Social Affiliation. Current Biology 28, 3523-3532 (Link)
    This first paper from my postdoc training introduces systematic virtual reality stimulation of freely swimming zebrafish to identify visual cues that trigger social shoaling behavior and defines perceptual rules governing this mutual interaction.
    Raw Data @ figshare
    Analysis code to generate all figures from raw data @ bitbucket

  2. Larsch, J., Flavell, S.W., Liu, Q., Gordus, A., Albrecht, D.R., and Bargmann, C.I. (2015). A Circuit for Gradient Climbing in C. elegans Chemotaxis. Cell Reports 12, 1748-60 (Link)
    This paper presents a neural circuit underlying olfactory navigation and genetic mapping of two molecular regulators of sensory response habituation in C. elegans.

  3. Larsch, J., Ventimiglia, D., Bargmann, C.I., and Albrecht, D.R. (2013). High-throughput imaging of neuronal activity in Caenorhabditis elegans. PNAS 110, E4266–E4273. (Link)
    This paper presents an imaging system for freely moving or many immobilized C. elegans under microfluidic stimulation, olfactory response mapping and a characterization of variability in odor-evoked behavior despite reproducible sensory neuronal responses.
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