Pavan Ramdya’s Neuroengineering Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) studies how neural circuits control the behavior of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The researchers’ goal is to better understand behavior and apply their findings to robotics to create more agile controllers. The developers study living flies, but they have also created an intricate reconstruction to virtually study Drosophila’s exoskeleton. 


The lab worked with Graham Knott of the EPFL Electron Microscopy facility to preserve fruit flies. Doctoral student Victor Lobato Ríos took a micro-CT scan of a preserved fly using the only micro-CT system of its kind in Switzerland to create the reconstruction shown above. The physics-based simulation will allow the lab to “compile our biological data, more rapidly test theories about neuromechanical controls of behavior, and make predictions for further experiments in...

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at

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