Lucia Prieto-Godino – Group Leader
Lucia obtained a B.A. from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, where she trained with Gonzalo Garcia de Polavieja. After a summer working on vision in box jellyfish in the lab of Dan Nilsson at Lund University in Sweden, she joined Michael Bate‘s group at the University of Cambridge, UK for her PhD, where she studied the embryonic development of the Drosophila olfactory system. For her postdoc she worked on the evolution of olfactory pathways in Drosophila, in the lab of Richard Benton at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. She has recived multiple awards, including the FENS EJN Young Investigator Prize 2018 and the 2018 L’Oreal-UNESCO for women in science Fellowship. In addition to the lab work, Lucia founded and runs TReND (Teaching and Research in Natural Sciences for Development) in Africa, work for which she received the Passion in Science Award 2016.
Raffaella Tulino – Lab Research Scientist
Raffealla obtained her Bachelor and Master degrees in Biology from the University of Sannio in Italy. She started her lab experience in the lab of Dr. Angel Barco (Instituto de Neurosciencia, Spain). During this period, she focused on the alteration of Epigenetic mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases. She joined Gillian P. Bates’ group at the King’s College London, UK for her PhD, where she focused on genetic and pharmacological approaches to target protein aggregation in Huntington’s disease. After a research stay at the Francis Crick Institute in Dr. Paola Scaffidi’s group, Raffaella came to the lab lab to purse her research interest in the evolution of neuronal circuits.
William Wray – Lab Research Scientist
Bill obtained his B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University in Boston where he worked as a technician in the Neurobiology Department of Harvard Medical School. After an internship in Andreas Schaefer’s lab at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, he joined the Schaefer lab as a PhD student after it moved to the National Institute for Medical Research in London. His research involved developing a system for large scale extracellular recordings in mice in vivo combining microwire electrode bundles and an infrared camera readout. He joined the Prieto-Godino lab to develop behavioral rigs combining olfactory and optogenetic stimulation. At the Crick, he is bandleader and bass player for Francis and the Crickets and is one of the organizers of Cricksters Movie Night.
Jana Friedrich – EMBO Post-doctoral Fellow
Jana obtained her Diploma in Biology from the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany, where she worked on the transdetermination of imaginal discs in Drosophila during the last year of her undergraduate studies. After a research stay at the University of Dundee in Scotland in Prof. Arno Müller’s group, Jana joined the lab of Prof. Ingrid Lohmann at the University of Heidelberg, Germany for her PhD. In the lab of Prof. Lohmann she studied the role of Hox transcription factors in the establishment of motor circuits essential for feeding behaviour in Drosophila. Jana will join the lab soon to purse her research interest in the development of neural circuits from a evolutionary perspective, funded by an EMBO postdoctoral Fellowship.
Antonio Torres Mendez – Visiting PhD student
Antonio obtained his B.S. in Biotechnology from Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville. He started his research experience working on yeast genetics in Rafael Daga’s lab, and on C. elegans development with Peter Askjaer. He then moved to Imperial College London, where he graduated from the MRes Systems and Synthetic Biology. For his masters thesis he joined the lab of John Heap, interested in the development of new tools to genetically modify cyanobacteria for industrial purposes. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the lab of Manuel Irimia, at CRG in Barcelona. His project focuses on the evolution of neural microexons, a highly conserved splicing program altered in some autistic patients. Antonio is currently doing a research stay in our lab, learning about fly neurogenetics and evolution.
Ruairí Roberts – PhD student
Ruairí is a Neuroscience MSci graduate from University College London. During his undergraduate studies he became fascinated by cellular neurobiology, developmental biology and, through a summer project at the Jefferis Lab in Cambridge, Drosophila neurobiology. Since then he has pursued his interests as a Research Assistant in the Drosophila Connectomics team where he had the privilege to explore the olfactory system of a female Drosophila melanogaster brain at an EM scale. He will join the lab in September 2018 as a PhD student. For his PhD studies, he is eager to build upon his previous neuroanatomical experience by comparing the morphology and functional properties of the neural circuitry of multiple Drosophilid species and in so doing hopefully understand something of the principles of how nervous systems can evolve.