Research Project

Insect navigation is widely studied in bees and ants and neuronal circuits and motifs are established for a part of these navigation strategies. Since working with fast flying organisms still is a methodological challenge, my PhD project will focus on locomotion of Drosophila larvae. Larva are only able to crawl in 2D, they have an even smaller brain than adult flies, but they still can for example navigate along odor gradient. Also, many brain structures are already established during larval stages and therefore, can hint towards the function in adult flies. Another aspect that has recently gained attention in the field of behavioral biology is the concept of individuality. Behavioral traits that can differ even between genetically indentical individuals even in Drosophila. It is widely discussed whether this variability in behavioral phenotypes has a neurobiological base. For example, handedness is present in adult flies and asymmetry in neuronal wiring in the visual pathway is in part responsible for variability during object based orientation of adult Drosophila. To gain further understanding towards the basis of variable behavior, I aim to study individuality in Drosophila larvae.

PhD Committee

Prof. Dr. Christian Klämbt
Prof. Dr. Benjamin Risse
Dr. Gerit Linneweber


Bittern, J., M. Praetz, M. Baldenius, and C. Klämbt. 2021. Long-Term Observation of Locomotion of Drosophila Larvae Facilitates Feasibility of Food-Choice Assays. Adv. Biol. 2100938.

Demandt, N., M. Praetz, R. H. J. M. Kurvers, J. Krause, J. Kurtz, and J. P. Scharsack. 2020. Parasite infection disrupts escape behaviours in fish shoals. Proc. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 287:20201158. Royal Society.


*1997 Bonn, Germany
2015–2018 Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Münster
2018-2022 Master of Science in Behavior: From Neural Mechanism to Evolution at the University of Bielefeld
2022 Beginning of PhD at the University of Münster, Germany