Duda Kvitsiani

Kvitsiani group - Neuronal circuits and molecular basis of effort based decision-making

The Kvitsiani group investigates the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that underlie effort based decision-making in flies, rodents and humans. The aim of his research is to build predictive and quantitative models of foraging behavior to uncover the neural and genetic mechanisms that underlie animal decisions. The methods used include molecular genetics, psychophysics, behavioral electrophysiology and optogenetics.

Research focus

The main focus of our research is to investigate how animals allocate effort to forage efficiently in unpredictable environments. By employing quantitative foraging models and carefully designed behavioral assays with extracellular electrophysiology and optogenetics we plan to identify circuit level computations in mouse brain that subserve foraging decisions. In order to uncover the molecular basis of foraging decisions reverse genetic screens in combination with foraging behavioral assays will be used in fruit flies. Another focus of research will be to determine whether foraging humans use the same strategies as flies and rodents, and whether these strategies are adversely affected in mentally disabled patients. Long term goal is to use ecology inspired quantitative behavioral models to guide and sharpen scientific questions. Duda Kvitsiani also hopes to take advantage of the diverse scientific cultures at Aarhus University to launch fruitful collaborations in pursuit of this goal.

Available projects

The Kvitsiani group currently has projects available for Master students, PhD students, and post docs. Please contact Group Leader Duda Kvitsiani directly, if interested.

Left picture: Schematic of foraging assay examining animals decisions to abandon depleting patches as function of travel difficulty. Right picture: Identification of cell-types in extracellular recordings using targeted expression of Channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) molecule in genetically defined neurons (red cells illustrated).