Welcome to the van Swinderen lab group website. We are a research team at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. We are interested in consciousness, and utilise one of the smallest animal brains, the fruit fly  Drosophila melanogaster,  to study this mysterious phenomenon.

How do we study consciousness in a fly? We look at what happens when flies sleep, when they get anaesthetised, or when they pay attention to competing visual stimuli. These are the three major research themes in our lab.  

You can find more information about our different research projects and interests in the 'Our Research' and 'The Team' tabs.

Recent news and publications

Here is Leonie's recently published (2019) review on sleep in Drosophila, published in the Handbook of Sleep Research


Listen to Bruno's podcast on general anaesthesia and sleep


Postdoc position available

A postdoc position is available to study presynaptic mechanisms of general anaesthesia. 

The project covers a variety of techniques, from super-resolution microscopy of single molecule dynamics to whole-brain imaging in Drosophila flies. Candidates with a strong background in biochemistry and cell culture paradigms to study SNARE function are are encouraged to apply. The project will be centred on understanding how general anaesthetics such as propofol impair neurotransmission, with a view towards designing new compounds to control the presynaptic release machinery. If you are interested in applying, please send a CV and a brief research statement to Bruno van Swinderen (see email below).

Quick links

QBI website






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