Clemens, Jan, Dr. rer. nat.

Group leader Emmy-Noether group at ENI

  • 2012 PhD in Computational Neuroscience, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, BCCN Berlin
  • 2012-2017 Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University
  • since 2017 Group leader, European Neuroscience Institute

Major Research Interests

The “Neural Computation and Behavior” works on how acoustic communication signals are processed to inform behavior. Acoustic communication is widespread in the animal kingdom - yet it’s neural basis is only poorly understood. Like songbirds or crickets - fruit flies also produce mating songs during courtship. We use high-throughput behavioral assays and computer vision to precisely quantify how song influences behavior on multiple time scales – from changes in locomotion in response to the song over tens of milliseconds to a mating decision based on song accumulated over several minutes of courtship. We then exploit the genetic toolbox available in Drosophila to identify the neural substrates of these behaviors: Using optogenetics, we activate or inactivate individual neurons in the fly brain during courtship interactions – quantitative models of the behavior then allow us to identify the time scales and components of the behavior controlled by these neurons. Having found individual neurons involved in processing song, we then use electrophysiology and two-photon Calcium imaging to interrogate the dynamical neural representations of song to determine how song is encoded in the brain and how these neural codes give rise to behavior.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Jan Clemens*, David Deutsch*, Stephan Thiberge, and Mala Murthy (* eq. contribution)
    Shared song object detector neurons in Drosophila male and female brains drive divergent, sex-specific behaviors
    2018, biorxiv
  • Jan Clemens*, Philip Coen*, Frederic A. Roemschied*, Talmo Pereira, David Mazumder, Diego Pacheco, and Mala Murthy (* eq. contribution)
    Discovery of a new song mode in Drosophila reveals hidden structure in the sensory and neural drivers of behavior
    2018, Current Biology, 28:2400–2412
  • Jan Clemens, Nofar Ozeri, Mala Murthy
    Fast intensity adaptation enhances the encoding of sound in Drosophila 2018, Nature Communications, 9:134
  • David Stern, Jan Clemens, Pip Coen, Adam Calhoun, Troy Shirangi, John Hogenesch, Ben Arthur, Mala Murthy
    Experimental and statistical reevaluation provides no evidence for Drosophila courtship song rhythms 2017, PNAS, 114(37):9978-9983
  • Philip Coen, Marjorie Xie, Jan Clemens, Mala Murthy
    Sensorimotor transformations underlying variability in song intensity during Drosophila courtship
    2016, Neuron, 89(3):629–644
  • Jan Clemens*, Cyrille Girardin* (eq. contribution), Philip Coen, Georgia Guan, Barry Dickson, Mala Murthy
    Connecting neural codes with behavior in the auditory system of Drosophila
    2015, Neuron, 87(6):1332-1343