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Assistant Professor in the Department of Biosciences
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing 


I obtained my PhD from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), working on the evolution and function of a then novel family of chemosensory receptors, in the lab of Richard Benton. There, I traced the evolution of these receptors across the genomes of dozens of invertebrates, and found that for some of them participate in amino-acid taste perception. 

After graduating in 2013, I moved to the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at the University of Oxford to work with Scott Waddell on transcriptomic variability and heterogeneity in the Drosophila brain. There, I generated the first single-cell transcriptomic atlas from the fly brain, which I used to identify new genes that define cell types, and resolve transmitter co-expression and receptor assembly. More recently, I used single-cell transcriptomics to address state-dependent gene expression changes induced by thirst. This led to the discovery that astrocytic D-serine signaling is key to regulate water consumption in thirsty animals. 


In the brain, modulation of gene expression influences the activity of particular neurons and circuits to regulate essential functions such as memory, sleep, feeding or social interactions. In turn, neuronal activity and plasticity also influence the expression of specific genes to regulate neurotransmission and maintain homeostasis. We use the simple brain of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand the interplay between neuronal activity and transcription. Using single-cell transcriptomics, behaviour and neuronal imaging, we are able to identify novel genes and pathways that sustain key neuronal functions, with an unprecedented level of detail. Description of these mechanisms could inform treatments against neurological conditions, such as addiction or neurodegenerative diseases. 

Research interests

  • Neurosciences
  • Transcriptomics
  • Memory
  • Dopamine
  • Drosophila
  • Behaviour
  • Psychostimulants


Journal Article

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Supervision students