The food we eat affects all aspects of our lives, including aging, ability to reproduce, lifespan, mental state and mood. For better or worse, we are what we eat. Yet, how the brain controls food choice is still a mystery. What are the neural processes that drive us to choose a pretzel over an apple, or a steak over ice cream? To tap into this problem researchers have to tackle difficult questions such as “how does the brain know which nutrients the body needs?” and “how is this information translated into decisions?”

We address these questions using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, one of the most powerful and versatile genetic animal models currently available. The fly allows us to combine a wide array of tools and approaches, which include, genetic circuit manipulations, activity imaging, automated, quantitative methods for studying behaviour, microbiome manipulations, and tissue specific large scale RNAi screens. Team members use this wide array of approaches since it enables us to implement an integrative neuroscience approach, necessary to solve this whole-organism problem

Read more about our research HERE

Main Interests

The neural mechanisms of nutrition

How animals make decisions

Why do animals sometimes do one thing and sometime something else?


Genetic circuit manipulations (yes we ALSO do Optogenetics), Nutritional manipulations, RNAi, CRISPR (who doesn’t do this nowadays?), Molecular and biochemical methods, Volumetric activity imaging, Microbial manipulations of the host and behaviour

Animal Model

Drosophila melanogaster

aka “If you can come up with the experiment you can also do it”

aka “you don’t have to ask the PI if the lab can afford the complex genetic experiment”

Want to join our lab?



Champalimaud Foundation

Behavior and Metabolism Lab

Champalimaud Research

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Avenida Brasília, 1400-038 Lisbon, Portugal

T (+351) 210 480 200