Kavitha Kannan

IMPRS Doctoral Student
University of Konstanz

Main Focus

I am interested in understanding neuro-ethology i.e. the interplay of neurosciences in animal behaviour, with a specific focus in the working of small brains such as those in arthropods. In my PhD, I will be teasing apart the behavioural repertoire of the honeybee (Apis mellifera) to understand the social regulation in their defensive mechanism.

Honeybees live in large colonies, with thousands of individuals. Defending the colony and its resources from intruders is a crucial part of their survival. They signal the threat and recruit their nestmates into defending and stinging by means of chemical pheromones. However, this is suicidal for the bee as their stinger apparatus gets attached to the skin of the predator and the mutilated bee dies within a few hours. Thus, a balance must be achieved by the colony - to employ bees to respond to the predator and leave it undeterred and to not deplete the colony workforce. I will be investigating this in my PhD at both the individual as well as the collective level, from a behavioural, neuroanatomical and neuro-pharmacological approach.

Curriculum Vitae

June 2012 - June 2015: Bachelor's in Natural Sciences, St. Joseph's College, Bangalore, India. Bachelor's thesis: 'Boldness and Personality trait in the Climbing Perch fish', supervised by Dr. V.V.Binoy, Social Cognition Lab, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India. 
September 2015 - May 2016: Research intern at Cognitive Neurosciences Lab, St. John's Research Institute, Bangalore, India. 
June 2016 - July 2018: Joint Master's in Neurosciences program, University of Strasbourg, France - University of Freiburg, Germany. Master's Thesis on Erasmus+ scholarship at MPI-NL: 'Expression analysis of differentially regulated genes of FoxP1, in the auditory perception of female zebra finches'.
January 2019 - September 2020: Research Assistant, Lund Vision Group (under the supervision of Dr. Stanley Heinze and Prof. Marie Dacke), Department of Biology, Lunds University, Sweden.
Since September 2020: PhD candidate at MPI-AB, under the supervision of Dr. Morgane Nouvian, Social Neuroethology Group.

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