School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Marie Guiraud


PhD student



Project Title: Active vision in insects

Summary: Neuroscience is the study of the amazing capacities of the brain.  In order to understand neural processing in mammalian brain like ours, neuroscientists work on various animal species. Simple models might be useful for the study of numerous sides of cognition. Hence, a wonderful model to uncover mechanisms of behavioural repertoire is the bee brain (honey bee and bumblebee predominately). Bees possess a mini-brain with less than a million neurons, and yet exhibit impressive capabilities in learning and memory (in various sensory modalities: vision, olfaction and gestation). However, unravel the mysteries behind bee cognition by exploring the neural mechanisms underpinning complex behaviours represents a very exciting challenge.

I am broadly interested in cognitive neuroscience, learning and memory. My research focuses on the behavioural aspects of active vision, navigational processes and visual learning mechanisms in the bee brain. During my PhD I will use a combination of field methods and laboratory techniques to understand how bees see. 

Research from my Masters

I did my masters thesis in neurosciences and cognition under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Giurfa and Dr. Gabriela de Brito Sanchez in the Centre de Recherche sur la Cognition animale (C.R.C.A, Toulouse, France). During my masters, I was particularily interested in gustatory discrimination capabilities of honey bees. I worked on the gustatory conditioning of the sting extension reflex. We generally determined what gustatory substances bees can discriminate. I also used neuropharmacological tools to reveal the main neural pathways involved in the SRT gustatory conditioning.

Educational background

2013 – 2014 Master 2 Neurosciences and signalling. University Paris-Sud 11, France.

2012 – 2013 Master 1 Neurosciences, behaviour and cognition. University of Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France.

2011 – 2012 1st semester in Magistere of Neurosciences. University of Valparaiso, Chile.

2008 – 2011 Licence Biology of organisms, populations and ecosystem, University of Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France.


Faculty of 1000 Award for the best poster communication, 15th French Conference on Invertebrate Neurobiology – Toulouse (France) – Poster Presentation .