Experience-Dependent Plasticity in Insects

Jean-Marc Devaud

Martin Giurfa

05 61 55 67 62

05 61 55 67 33

Team members

  Research engineer
  • Gabriela De Brito Sanchez
  • Isabelle Massou
  • Jean-Marc Devaud
  • Martin Giurfa
  Researcher  Associate professor
  • Guillaume Isabel
  Technical staff
  • Dorian Champelovier
  Postdoctoral fellow
  • Benjamin Paffhausen
  • Sebastian Schwarz
  • Marco Paoli
  • Catherine Tait
  PhD student
  • Mathilde Lacombrade
  • Yuan Lai
  • Ines Noureddine
  • Louise Bestea
  • Haiyang Geng
  • Mathieu Kunetz
  • Gregory Lafon
  • Leo Clement


The objective of our team is the integrative study of experience-dependent plasticity in insects, with a particular focus on cognitive functions, such as visual and olfactory learning and memory. Three model species (honeybee, bumblebee, Drosophila), for which detailed descriptions of brain anatomy and genome are now available, are used to explore behavioral plasticity in ecologically relevant tasks and to track down their genetic, molecular and neural mechanisms bases. The comparative analysis between species exhibiting various levels of social complexities provides a unique opportunity to consider experience-dependent plasticity in a social context.

Our multidisciplinary approach is poised at the interface between experimental psychology, neurobiology, molecular biology, behavioral genetics and cognitive ecology. We use state-of the-art techniques spanning from behavioral observations of free-flying bees foraging on computer-controlled flowers, to the conditioning of harnessed individuals presented with tightly controlled stimuli, the identification of neural circuits involved in memory formation using transgenes, and the detailed tracking of neurotransmission processes in targeted brain structures.



BEE-MATURATION: Individual experience and plasticity

ERC Starting Grant EMERG-ANT: Ant Navigation in Natural Habitats

MOLECULTURE: Multiscale study of social learning and memory in Drosophila melanogaster: from genes to animal culture

APITASTE: Taste Perception and Modulation in a Miniature Brain

Molecular and neural mechanisms of appetitive and aversive memories

BEE NUMBER: The Biological Bases of Bee Numerosity

ERC Advanced Grant COGNIBRAINS: Cognition in an Insect Brain


  • Singh M, Acerbi A, Caldwell CA, Danchin É, Isabel G, Molleman L, Scott-Phillips T, Tamariz M, van den Berg P, van Leeuwen EJC, Derex M.
    Beyond social learning
    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2021 Jul 5;376(1828):20200050.
    2021 Jul doi: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0050.
  • Giurfa M, Giurfa de Brito A, Giurfa de Brito T, de Brito Sanchez MG.
    Charles Henry Turner and the cognitive behavior of bees.
    Apidologie (2021)
    2021 Jul PMID: 33934411
  • Bestea L, Réjaud A, Sandoz JC, Carcaud J, Giurfa M, de Brito Sanchez MG..
    Peripheral taste detection in honey bees: What do taste receptors respond to?
    Eur J Neurosci. doi: 10.1111/ejn.15265
    2021 Jun
  • Monchanin C, Drujont E, Devaud JM, Lihoreau M, Barron AB .
    Heavy metal pollutants have addictive effects on honey bee cognition
    Journal of Experimental Biology, jeb.241869. doi: 10.1242/jeb.241869
    2021 May
  • Monchanin C, Blanc-Brude A, Drujont E, Negahi MM, Pasquaretta C, Silvestre J, Baqué D, Elger A, Barron AB, Devaud JM, Lihoreau M.
    Chronic exposure to lead impairs honey bee learning
    Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 212:112008
    2021 Apr

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