NROS 415: Finding the Ventral Nerve Cord in Flies

This laboratory is very hands on, and as the course goes on we will learn all the techniques for recording. This is a trial-and-error learning environment; enough freedom is provided so that you can try different approaches to what we are doing in class. One example, is the Ventral Nerve Cord recordings in flies.

The suggested technique is waxing the fly on its dorsal side to the base, and tilting the head back as much as possible (which is not much, usually), start an incision in the throat, right above the legs. An important blood vessel is covering that area, so be careful not to destroy it and try to work your way around it. Once the upper layer of "stuff" ('that the fly won't need anyways') and that blood-sacs have been emptied, the VNC is discernable in the middle. Esophagus is usually behind it, very close.

Some students have tried a dorsal approach without much success. But it seems that opening the fly not on the troath but in between the legs also yields good results. Send photos of your technique and a description, so we all can learn!

The latest thing

Mind-controlled quadrotor

How's this for an NROS 415 project?

We would like to thank our sponsors:

Funding from the Mathworks made this lab possible!
Special thanks to Professor Rick Levine and Professor Lynne Oland for the loan of equipment that made this lab complete.

Lab Location

The Lab is located in the Gould Simpson building, Room 404, on the University of Arizona campus.

To contact us, please email: