Living in a group has an adaptive value for a number of reasons. In the lab we focus on social interactions in different contexts, namely when individuals perceive a threat or when they are foraging for food. The neural mechanisms by which animals use social information to detect impending danger are largely unknown. We are studying how animals use defence behaviours of con-specifics as alarm cues. In addition, we study how the social context modulates defence behaviours. For example, we are studying how the presence of offspring affects defence behaviours displayed by mothers. We are also studying prosocial behaviour of rats using food foraging tasks. Here we would like to understand what drives an animal to coordinate with another or to perform an action that benefits another in the absence of self-benefit. To understand the mechanisms by which social interactions shape behaviour we use a combination of behavioural, pharmacological and optogenetic tools in rats and fruit flies.
Defensive and Social Behaviour
Development of behavioural tasks, Optogenetics, Pharmacology and Physiology
If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Marta Moita at the email address bellow.