Simon Sprecher

active 5 years, 9 months ago


Latitude and Longitude



Full Name

Simon Sprecher

Current position

associate Professor


University of Fribourg


Fribourg, Switzerland

Research interests

We are interested in the Development and function of sensory systems.
A major focus is the Drosophila larva, primarily the sense of vision and gustation.

Functionality of sensory neurons is defined by the sensory receptor gene expressed.
In case of photoreceptor neurons in the eye these are Rhodopsins, in gustatory neurons these are gustatory receptors, both are coding for G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).
– How do sensory neurons choose which sensory receptor to express?
– That is the regulatory logic controlling GPCR expression?

In the larva the sense organs are comparably simple: the eye consists of 12 photoreceptors (4 blue-sensitive, 8 green-sensitive), the gustatory organ (primarily terminal organ) consists of about 32 gustatory neurons.
– Which sensory stimuli are perceived by which sensory neuron?
– What are the target neurons making up the first step in visual and gustatory circuits?


Research activity


The research of my laboratory is centered around the development and function of sensory system and neural circuts

Representative publications

Moraru MM, Egger B, Bao DB, Sprecher SG.
Analysis of cell identity, morphology, apoptosis and mitotic activity in a primary neural cell culture system in Drosophila.
Neural Dev. 2012 Jun 20;7(1):14.

Keene AC, Sprecher SG.
Seeing the light: photobehavior in fruit fly larvae.
Trends Neurosci. 2012 Feb;35(2):104-10

Keene AC, Mazzoni EO, Zhen J, Younger MA, Yamaguchi S, Blau J, Desplan C, Sprecher SG.
Distinct visual pathways mediate Drosophila larval light avoidance and circadian clock entrainment.
J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 27;31(17):6527-34.

Research keywords

visual system, photoreceptor, learning and memory, innate behavior, gustatory system, sensory receptor genes

Job openings

Motivated young researchers are welcome to apply for open positions at all levels (Masters, PhD, Postdoc).