Portrait: Vivek Jayaraman And His Lab

Vivek Jayaraman

I’ve been posting a number of entries on Janelia Farm focusing on the building and environs to show what an amazing physical place it is.  However, it is people that do the work of science, the discovery and its communication.

During my last trip to Janelia, I got to visit with Vivek Jayaraman for a little while which turned out to be quite a treat and another reminder of how small the world is becoming.  Turns out Vivek is friends with a mutual friend David Schoppik at NYU who connected us.


Fly under the scope

Vivek’s lab at Janelia Farm is interested in understanding how neural circuits correlate with behavioral outcomes in drosophila flies.  The idea to to understand in a simpler animal, how the sensory motor system encodes signals that ultimately result in an observable behavior and how alterations in specific genes may alter those neural circuits and thus behaviors.  Its cool stuff…


Sung Soo Kim

Sung Soo Kim is Vivek’s post-doc and was kind enough to walk me through the preparation of one of the experiments designed to visualize the neurons being activated while they run them through a virtual maze.  Identifying which individual neurons are being activated under certain behavioral conditions leads to specific circuits which is right up our alley and resonates deeply with us.  We are all about circuitry through our connectomics work, building new tools, elucidating new circuits and understanding the fine, synaptic and gap junctional connectivities. So, this work is tremendously interesting.

Looks like we are sending a post-doc, Janelia way to do some circuitry work with Davi Bock.  Perhaps this will lead to some collaborative work between the Bock lab and they Jayaraman lab if they are not already doing so.  Goodness knows we can all use better tools and methods to hybridize physiology with circuitry and its this kind of work in Vivek’s lab that will be some of the first to get us specific information about circuits involved in behavior.  How those circuits connect is another matter entirely…


Sung Soo Kim at microscope

Thanks to Vivek and Sung Soo for taking the time to share their science.




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