Yearbook Articles from the Institute
(full texts in German)


  • Different ways of sensing sugars: hummingbirds, woodpeckers and geckos

    2022 Baldwin, Maude W.
    Animals rely on their sense of taste to detect nutrients and avoid toxins. However, different species can have very different senses of taste: what tastes sweet to humans tastes very different to cats and to birds. Diet shifts happen frequently across the phylogeny of animal species. Changes in diets, for instance, from  omnivorous to carnivorous, can be associated with changes in taste receptor number or function. Understanding how and when taste receptors change gives us insight into how new behaviors arise, how proteins evolve new functions, and into the evolutionary process itself.
  • Odors and memories – In search of clues in the zebrafish brain

    2022 Frank, Thomas
    We do not always perceive odors in the same way. Instead, our perception is modulated by previous experiences, context and internal states such as hunger or stress, which also modulates the behavioral response. Our research group investigates what happens in the brain during this process, using the zebrafish as a model. In the transparent brains of the animals, we are able to investigate how sensory, associative and motor circuits interact to produce odor-controlled behavior.


  • How behavioural diversity is maintained

    2021 Küpper, Clemens
    Within species diversity in morphology and behaviour is widespread in nature. In ruffs, a substantial amount of this diversity is encoded by variants of a supergene that have different fitness consequences for males and females.
  • To act or not to act?

    2021 Macé, Emilie
    Depression is a disorder that affects thoughts, but also the ability to engage in the most basic actions, as simple as getting out of bed. Therefore, this disorder must perturb a core network of brain regions implicated in our motivation to act. Our team at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology investigates in mice what part of the brain is active when they spontaneously engage in an action, using a novel method to record whole-brain activity. The goal is to better understand what brain circuits controls our drive to act and how they become dysfunctional in psychiatric disorders.
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