Roland Strauss

UM, Roland Strauss (RS)

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Scientific Expertise & Collaborations: Roland Strauss (RS) is full professor and Chair of Neuroscience at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz where he wants to understand the neuronal circuits and principles underlying the higher control of visual orientation behaviour and terrestrial locomotion in Drosophila. His team studies central complex functions at the molecular network and behavioural levels, and does robotics and computer simulations of fly-inspired walking and orientation control algorithms. New interests in Drosophila comprise the control of complex motor tasks, motor learning, orientation memory and strategies for the orientation in gradients.

RS is partner within the FP7 project “Spatial Temporal Patterns for Action-oriented Perception in Roving Robots II: An Insect Brain Computational Model” (SPARK II) ICT 216227. He is Visiting Scientist of the HHMI-Janelia Farm Research Campus.

Training Expertise: RS has taught part of the 3-week Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory summer course “Drosophila neurobiology” over 9 years. He has supervised 4 PhD and currently is supervisor of 6 PhD theses. The number of ongoing and finished supervised Diploma theses is 14. RS teaches Drosophila neurobiology with neurogenetic methods each semester at two different graduate levels. RS teaches 26 hours of neurobiology at the undergraduate level and 26 hours of motor control in vertebrates and invertebrates at the graduate level. RS and co-workers run a lab course of neurobiology for 130 undergraduates (each term) and a lab course for high school teachers. RS and co-workers run a literature reading class, a journal and a data club.

Training & Research Environment: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz combines 11 faculties and 150 institutes, moreover hosting 12 Collaborative Research Centres, 9 Research Units, and 7 Research Training Groups. The Neurobiology Department has 1 full, 1 associate, and 3 assistant professors working in Drosophila, in honey bees (visual system function) and in the goldfish retina and optic tectum (pharmacology and electrophysiology). The Genetics Department has 1 full and 1 associate professor working in Drosophila nervous system development. Top quality facilities include setups for the quantification of Drosophila behaviour including virtual-reality LED arenas, high-speed video analysis, flight simulators, learning setups, molecular Drosophila laboratory, robots for simulation studies, confocal laser microscopy, and a mechanical workshop. The interdisciplinary study-group neurobiology Mainz (IAK-Neuro) offers joint seminars and lab courses for biology students. A local graduate school (DFG GK1044) deals with the developmental and disease-induced modifications of the nervous system. The Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is the 5th-largest University in Germany with 35.000 students. It offers a wide variety of soft skill courses, the so-called interdisciplinary “Studium Generale” and several seminars open to the general public.

Most relevant publications:

1. Riemensperger T, Isabel G, Coulom H, Neuser K, Seugnet L, Kume K, Iché-Torres M, Cassar M, Strauss R, Preat T, Hirsh J, Birman S (2011) Behavioral consequences of dopamine deficiency in the Drosophila central nervous system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108(2):834-9

2. Triphan T, Poeck B, Neuser K, Strauss R. (2010), Visual targeting of motor actions in climbing Drosophila. Curr. Biol. 13;663-8.

3. Neuser, K., Triphan, T., Mronz, M., Poeck, B., and Strauss, R. (2008). Analysis of a spatial orientation memory in DrosophilaNature 453: 1244-1247.

4. Poeck, B., Triphan, T., Neuser, K., and Strauss, R. (2008). Locomotor control by the central complex in Drosophila – an analysis of the tay bridge mutantDev. Neurobiol. 68: 1046-1058.