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Dr Edgar Buhl

Dr Edgar Buhl

Lecturer (E&R)

Hatherly 

I am a neurobiologist interested in animal behaviour and the underlying neuronal networks. I use both insects and simple vertebrates as experimental animals, whose central nervous systems contain relatively few, easily accessible neurons. By doing this it is possible to work on identified cells and single neurons that are known to control complex behaviour. I currently study the Drosophila circadian clock system, including sleep, age-dependent effects and age-related diseases that also have circadian and sleep deficits (e.g. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s). My research methods range from behavioural experiments, neuroanatomy, pharmacology, optogenetics and in vivo imaging to intra- and extracellular electrophysiological recordings.

Broad research specialisms: 

  • electrophysiology and optogenetics in flies
  • circadian rhythms, sleep and ageing
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • locomotion and CPGs
  • connections between neurons

Qualifications

  • 2008 PhD Neurophysiology (Leipzig, Germany)
  • 2003 Diploma Biology (Leipzig, Germany)

Research

Research interests

Many believe that understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. The difficulty here is immediately clear from the vast numbers of nerve cells or neurons (about 86 billion) in a human brain. Less obvious is the minute scale of nervous systems construction with many neurons only 0.01 mm in diameter. Problems of size and complexity have led to the study of simpler animals like snails, squid and flies that have complex behaviour but many fewer, often larger, neurons. In my research I wish to understand how nervous systems allow animals to behave. I use the fruit fly Drosophila and its circadian clock to address this question, as it manages to tell the time with just 75 pairs of neurons, and we have powerful genetic tools that let us read and write activity to specific neurons. Indeed, Drosophila has a long history of providing breakthroughs of how biology works all the way to humans, with four Nobel Prizes so far been awarded to research conducted solely with this model organism.

What is more, we can compare the findings in flies to other animal models, like mice, and even to humans. This is possible, since in order to adapt to varying internal and external conditions, all living life forms including insects and humans have evolved circadian clock mechanisms. Generally, clocks weaken with age, are affected by neurological disorders and clock disruption negatively affects health and well-being and can shorten lifespan. Furthermore, in our '24/7 society' an increasing proportion of the population experiences a desynchronisation of their circadian clock with that of the external world, due to shift-work, artificial lighting, noise pollution, anti-sleep drugs like caffeine, irregular sleep and eating patterns. This so-called 'social jet-lag' has lead to an alarming increase in health risks, and has been associated with cancer, obesity, depression, addiction and several sleep diseases resulting in about a third of people experiencing insomnia.

Research projects

  • light and temperature entrainment of the Drosophila clock
  • connections and neurotransmitters in the clock
  • ageing and neurodegenerative diseases
  • action selection in the Drosophila central complex
  • neural substrate of Drosophila aggression

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Schlichting M, Menegazzi P, Lelito KR, Yao Z, Buhl E, Dalla Benetta E, Bahle A, Denike J, Hodge JJ, Helfrich-Förster C, et al (2016). A Neural Network Underlying Circadian Entrainment and Photoperiodic Adjustment of Sleep and Activity in Drosophila. J Neurosci, 36(35), 9084-9096. Abstract.  Author URL.
Buhl E, Bradlaugh A, Ogueta M, Chen K-F, Stanewsky R, Hodge JJL (2016). Quasimodo mediates daily and acute light effects on Drosophila clock neuron excitability. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113(47), 13486-13491. Abstract.  Author URL.
Chen C, Buhl E, Xu M, Croset V, Rees JS, Lilley KS, Benton R, Hodge JJL, Stanewsky R (2015). Drosophila Ionotropic Receptor 25a mediates circadian clock resetting by temperature. Nature, 527(7579), 516-520. Abstract.
Buhl E, Soffe SR, Roberts A (2015). Sensory initiation of a co-ordinated motor response: Synaptic excitation underlying simple decision-making. Journal of Physiology, 593(19), 4423-4437. Abstract.
Roberts A, Conte D, Hull M, Merrison-Hort R, al Azad AK, Buhl E, Borisyuk R, Soffe SR (2014). Can Simple Rules Control Development of a Pioneer Vertebrate Neuronal Network Generating Behavior?. JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 34(2), 608-621. Author URL.
Buhl E, Roberts A, Soffe SR (2012). The role of a trigeminal sensory nucleus in the initiation of locomotion. Journal of Physiology, 590(10), 2453-2469. Abstract.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Schlichting M, Menegazzi P, Lelito KR, Yao Z, Buhl E, Dalla Benetta E, Bahle A, Denike J, Hodge JJ, Helfrich-Förster C, et al (2016). A Neural Network Underlying Circadian Entrainment and Photoperiodic Adjustment of Sleep and Activity in Drosophila. J Neurosci, 36(35), 9084-9096. Abstract.  Author URL.
Buhl E, Bradlaugh A, Ogueta M, Chen K-F, Stanewsky R, Hodge JJL (2016). Quasimodo mediates daily and acute light effects on Drosophila clock neuron excitability. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113(47), 13486-13491. Abstract.  Author URL.
Chen C, Buhl E, Xu M, Croset V, Rees JS, Lilley KS, Benton R, Hodge JJL, Stanewsky R (2015). Drosophila Ionotropic Receptor 25a mediates circadian clock resetting by temperature. Nature, 527(7579), 516-520. Abstract.
Buhl E, Soffe SR, Roberts A (2015). Sensory initiation of a co-ordinated motor response: Synaptic excitation underlying simple decision-making. Journal of Physiology, 593(19), 4423-4437. Abstract.
Roberts A, Conte D, Hull M, Merrison-Hort R, al Azad AK, Buhl E, Borisyuk R, Soffe SR (2014). Can Simple Rules Control Development of a Pioneer Vertebrate Neuronal Network Generating Behavior?. JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 34(2), 608-621. Author URL.
Buhl E, Roberts A, Soffe SR (2012). The role of a trigeminal sensory nucleus in the initiation of locomotion. Journal of Physiology, 590(10), 2453-2469. Abstract.
Rillich J, Buhl E, Schildberger K, Stevenson PA (2009). Female crickets are driven to fight by the male courting and calling songs. Animal Behaviour, 77(3), 737-742. Abstract.
Buhl E, Schildberger K, Stevenson PA (2008). A muscarinic cholinergic mechanism underlies activation of the central pattern generator for locust flight. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211(14), 2346-2357.

Publications by year


2016

Schlichting M, Menegazzi P, Lelito KR, Yao Z, Buhl E, Dalla Benetta E, Bahle A, Denike J, Hodge JJ, Helfrich-Förster C, et al (2016). A Neural Network Underlying Circadian Entrainment and Photoperiodic Adjustment of Sleep and Activity in Drosophila. J Neurosci, 36(35), 9084-9096. Abstract.  Author URL.
Buhl E, Bradlaugh A, Ogueta M, Chen K-F, Stanewsky R, Hodge JJL (2016). Quasimodo mediates daily and acute light effects on Drosophila clock neuron excitability. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113(47), 13486-13491. Abstract.  Author URL.

2015

Chen C, Buhl E, Xu M, Croset V, Rees JS, Lilley KS, Benton R, Hodge JJL, Stanewsky R (2015). Drosophila Ionotropic Receptor 25a mediates circadian clock resetting by temperature. Nature, 527(7579), 516-520. Abstract.
Buhl E, Soffe SR, Roberts A (2015). Sensory initiation of a co-ordinated motor response: Synaptic excitation underlying simple decision-making. Journal of Physiology, 593(19), 4423-4437. Abstract.

2014

Roberts A, Conte D, Hull M, Merrison-Hort R, al Azad AK, Buhl E, Borisyuk R, Soffe SR (2014). Can Simple Rules Control Development of a Pioneer Vertebrate Neuronal Network Generating Behavior?. JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 34(2), 608-621. Author URL.

2012

Buhl E, Roberts A, Soffe SR (2012). The role of a trigeminal sensory nucleus in the initiation of locomotion. Journal of Physiology, 590(10), 2453-2469. Abstract.

2009

Rillich J, Buhl E, Schildberger K, Stevenson PA (2009). Female crickets are driven to fight by the male courting and calling songs. Animal Behaviour, 77(3), 737-742. Abstract.

2008

Buhl E, Schildberger K, Stevenson PA (2008). A muscarinic cholinergic mechanism underlies activation of the central pattern generator for locust flight. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211(14), 2346-2357.

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