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Jösch Group


Maximilian Jösch and his team study the neuronal basis of innate behaviors, i.e. the processes implemented by neuronal circuits to transform sensory information into motor commands. Using a combination of molecular and physiological approaches, they monitor brain activity during animal behavior to reveal the principles and motifs of neuronal computation.

Two different model organisms, the mouse and the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), are being used in parallel to take advantage of their unique strengths and gather a general, crossphyla understanding of computational principles. Experiments in the mouse will allow the group to study the mechanisms used by the nervous system to send behaviorally relevant information from the eye to the brain, e.g., to easily detect a red apple in the green foliage. By conducting experiments in the fly, the group intends to obtain comprehensive understanding of the molecular, anatomical, and physiological instructions conveyed by a highly defined circuit involved in course control. This is possible because neuronal circuits in the fly brain are highly stereotyped, allowing high throughput screenings of the behavioral role of identified cells.


Image of Rimma Bondarenko

Rimma Bondarenko

PhD Student

Image of Divyansh Gupta

Divyansh Gupta

PhD Student

Image of Dafna Ljubotina

Dafna Ljubotina

PhD Student

Image of Tomas Masson

Tomas Masson


Image of Anuj Patel

Anuj Patel

PhD Student

Image of Eleonora Quiroli

Eleonora Quiroli

PhD Student

Image of Roshan Satapathy

Roshan Satapathy

PhD Student

Image of Florian Schmidt

Florian Schmidt

PhD Student

Image of Olga Symonova

Olga Symonova

Research Technician

Image of Ece Sönmez

Ece Sönmez

PhD Student

Image of Tomas Vega Zuniga

Tomas Vega Zuniga


Current Projects

Comprehensive mapping of the behavioral repertoire instructed by defined neuronal circuitries | Role of electrical synapses in sensory transformations | Mechanisms of visual saliency and attention | State dependent modulation of sensory information | Sensorimotor transformation in the superior colliculus


Burnett L, Koppensteiner P, Symonova O, Masson T, Vega Zuniga TA, Contreras X, Rülicke T, Shigemoto R, Novarino G, Jösch MA. 2024. Shared behavioural impairments in visual perception and place avoidance across different autism models are driven by periaqueductal grey hypoexcitability in Setd5 haploinsufficient mice. PLoS Biology. 22, e3002668. View

Reiner A, Medina L, Abellan A, Deng Y, Toledo CAB, Luksch H, Vega Zuniga TA, Riley NB, Hodos W, Karten HJ. 2024. Neurochemistry and circuit organization of the lateral spiriform nucleus of birds: A uniquely nonmammalian direct pathway component of the basal ganglia. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 532(5), e25620. View

Charlton JA, Mlynarski WF, Bai YH, Hermundstad AM, Goris RLT. 2023. Environmental dynamics shape perceptual decision bias. PLoS Computational Biology. 19(6), e1011104. View

Pokusaeva V. 2023. Neural control of optic flow-based navigation in Drosophila melanogaster. Institute of Science and Technology Austria. View

Gupta D, Mlynarski WF, Sumser AL, Symonova O, Svaton J, Jösch MA. 2023. Panoramic visual statistics shape retina-wide organization of receptive fields. Nature Neuroscience. 26, 606–614. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Maximilian Jösch


Since 2017 Assistant Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2010 – 2016 Postdoc and Research Associate, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
2009 PhD, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany and Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

Selected Distinctions

2023 ERC Consolidator Grant
2017 ERC Starting Grant
2016 Article Recommendation by F1000
2014 Best Poster Award, Retina FASEB Meeting
2011 Otto Hahn Medal, Max Planck Society
2011 Best Neuroscience Article, Neuroforum
2010 HFSP Long-term Fellowship
2009 Summa Cum Laude, PhD thesis

Additional Information

Jösch Group Website

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