Each 'bird's nest' in the image a single worm's trajectory through the shape space defined by three eigenworms (colour indicates position in the fourth dimension).


The Behavioural Genomics group is in the Integrative Biology section at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences. We're based in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London.

5006 Clinical Research Building
MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences
Du Cane Road
W12 0NN


Congratulations to Bertie on the successful defence of his PhD!! Bertie's the first student to graduate from the group and wrote a cool dissertation on quantitative analysis of natural variation in satiety quiescence.

Priota Islam and Saul Moore start on the same day in October. Saul is funded on an EPSRC AI studentship for his PhD and Priota is taking over where Priyanka left off as the new lab technician. Now that we've got some computational people Priota's going to have her hands full generating lots of new data sets.

The special issue of Philosophical Transactions collecting the papers from our Discussion Meeting from earlier in the year is now out. Really happy how this came together. Check out our brief intro, Avelino's paper on the new features calculated by Tierpsy, Yee Lian's paper where Tierpsy made a small contribution, or any of the other great papers. This is also a great milestone for the OpenWorm project, bringing together several aspects of the project and really showing how they've matured over the years.

Avelino's paper on Tierpsy Tracker, WCON, and the new worm behaviour database is out in Nature Methods. This was a great collaboration with several groups contributing data and computational expertise. Special thanks to all the OpenWorm contributors.

Eleni Minga is our second new postdoc this year. Eleni's background is in civil engineering and she brings more computational expertise to the group. Exciting times. Here's to discipline hopping!

Luigi Feriani joins us as a postdoc. After Avelino he's the second person to join the lab after a PhD with Pietro Cicuta in Cambridge. Welcome Luigi!

Our Ethology as a Physical Science review is out in Nature Physics today.

Kezhi's paper on using recurrent neural networks to predict worm behaviour got the best paper award at the WNIP workshop at NIPS 2017. Congrats to Kezhi!

New review on studying behaviour as a physical science is up on bioRxiv. Great collaboration with Ben de Bivort from Harvard.

Ida Barlow started today as the first postdoc on the ERC grant. She'll use her experience of behavioural phenotyping in zebrafish in Jason Rihel's lab at UCL to look for neuroactive drugs in C. elegans and then to use the database of behavioural responses she'll generate to predict compound mechanisms of action.

New paper out today in Physical Biology ([Abstract] [pdf]) with Eric Keaveney from Imperial. A linear friction model works well to predict a worm's path from looking only at its sequence of body postures. Interestingly, it looks like wild isolates move more efficiently (that is, with less slip) than laboratory strains.

Priyanka Shrestha has joined the lab as a technician. In addition to being a massive help to pretty much everyone, she's taking the lead on screening genetically diverse strains from the C. elegans Natural Diversity Resource and the Million Mutations Project.

Adam McDermott-Rouse starts as a PhD student this month. Adam's funded by a 4-year BBSRC CASE studentship. He's going to be predicting pesticide modes of action using quantitative phenotypic data in collaboration with scientists at Syngenta.

Two new papers are out in print this week. One from Bertie on dimensionality reduction and one from a collaboration with Alex Gomez-Marin and Greg Stephens on using data compression to study behavioural sequences.

ERC starting grant awarded! We'll use this to find neuro-active drug cocktails using worm behaviour as a guide.

We have two undergraduate students visiting the lab this summer. Welcome to Neil Wright and Fu Xiang Quah! Neil's going to extend Avelino's multiworm tracker to work with fish, and Fu Xiang is going to continue work on the egg laying data.

Welcome to Serena Ding, who joined the lab today! Serena recently finished her PhD in Alison Woollard’s lab at Oxford is going to be working on aggregation behaviour in a collaboration with Robert Endres and Linus Schumacher.

A follow-up on our first syntax paper is up on bioRxiv. We use a hierarchical compression algorithm to look for patterns and “patterns of patterns" á la Dawkins. The code's on GitHub.

The syntax paper's now out in PLOS Comp Bio. And the code's on GitHub.

Congrats to Céline Martineau on her IBRO short stay fellowship! Céline will join us for a month from Ellen Nollen's group in Groningen to analyse a great set of data she's collected on ageing worms.

Chris Norman, a physics student at Warwick has joined us for the summer. Chris will be looking at how worms respond behaviourally to variable environments. Welcome, Chris!

New paper on syntax in C. elegans locomotion (in preprint form) just put up on the bioRxiv. Thanks to Roland Schwarz for teaching me about n-grams!

It's not an April fools joke, Pratheeban Nambyiah really did join the group today. Pratheeban's an anaesthetist who's going to be putting worms to sleep to study possible neurotoxic mechanisms.

New paper on model-independent phenotyping of worm behaviour just published in PLOS ONE [Link]. A fun collaboration with the Sznitman lab at the Technion.

Avelino Javer has joined us from Pietro Cicuta's group at Cambridge. Avelino's an experimentalist that also knows his way around a computer. He's going to start off working closely with Kezhi to get the new worm tracker going.

Kezhi Li is now officially the first Behavioural Genomics lab postdoc! Kezhi has a background in compressed sensing and is going to be working on improved tracking algorithms for worm tracking.

Welcome to Bertie Gyenes, who started his PhD today. He's jointly supervised with Nick Jones in Mathematics at Imperial. He's going to whet his palate with some fancy time series analysis applied to worm behaviour!

Camille Straboni joins the lab! Camille will start on a 3+1 BBSRC studentship jointly supervised by Robert Endres in Biological Sciences at Imperial.