Richard Benton, Professor

Richard Benton received his PhD in 2003 from the University of Cambridge, and was an EMBO/Heley Hay Whitney post-doctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University, New York. He joined the Center for Integrative Genomics in September 2007 as Assistant Professor and promoted to Associate Professor in 2012 and Full Professor in 2018. His group’s research has been recognised by award of several prizes, including the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology (2009), Friedrich Miescher Award (2012), AChemS Young Investigator Award for Research in Olfaction (2012), the National Latsis Prize (2015), and the EMBO Gold Medal (2016). His research has been supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, ERC Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grants, the EMBO Young Investigator Programme and an HFSP Young Investigator Award.



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Research summary

Our group is interested in the genetic, neural and evolutionary basis of sensory perception.

As a model, we investigate the chemosensory systems of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which control many sophisticated behaviours, but are numerically simple and experimentally highly accessible. We take a multidisciplinary experimental approach, including bioinformatics, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, electrophysiology, optical imaging, and behavioural analysis.

Several conceptually diverse projects are currently being pursued, including the structural and molecular basis of chemosensory receptor function, the anatomical and physiological properties of chemosensory circuits in the brain, the genetic and ecological basis of chemosensory circuit evolution, and the neural underpinnings of chemosensory-dependent social behaviours.

Representative publications

Google Scholar Profile

Prieto-Godino LL*, Silbering AF*, Khallaf  MA**, Cruchet S**, Bojkowska K, Pradervand S, Hansson BS, Knaden M and Benton R. Functional integration of “undead” neurons in the olfactory system. bioRxiv (2019) doi: 10.1101/623488 (*equal contribution; **equal contribution)

Auer TO, Khallaf MA, Silbering AF, Zappia G, Ellis K, Hansson BS, Jefferis GSXE, Caron S, Knaden M, and Benton R. The making of an olfactory specialist. bioRxiv (2019) doi: 10.1101/546507

Chai PC, Cruchet S, Wigger L and Benton R. Sensory neuron lineage mapping and manipulation in the Drosophila olfactory system. Nature Communications (2019) 10:64

Sánchez-Alcañiz JA, Silbering AF*, Croset V*, Zappia G*, Sivasubramaniam AK, Abuin L, Sahai SY, Münch D, Steck K, Auer TO, Cruchet S, Neagu-Maier GL, Sprecher SG, Ribeiro C, Yapici N and Benton R. An expression atlas of variant ionotropic glutamate receptors identifies a molecular basis of carbonation sensing. Nature Communications (2018) 9:4252

Sánchez-Alcañiz JA, Zappia G, Marion-Poll F and Benton R. A mechanosensory receptor required for food texture detection in Drosophila. Nature Communications (2017) 8:14192

Prieto-Godino LL, Rytz R, Cruchet S, Bargeton B, Abuin L, Silbering AF, Ruta V, Dal Peraro M and Benton R. Evolution of acid-sensing olfactory circuits in drosophilids. Neuron (2017) 93(3):661-67

Prieto-Godino LL, Rytz R, Bargeton B, Abuin L, Arguello JR, Dal Peraro M and Benton R. Olfactory receptor pseudo-pseudogenes. Nature (2016) 539(7627):93-97

Ramdya P, Lichocki P, Cruchet S, Frisch L, Tse W, Floreano D and Benton R. Mechanosensory Interactions Drive Collective Behaviour in Drosophila. Nature (2015) 519(7542):233-6


richard_benton-8889_edit.jpg (Richard Benton)

Richard Benton CV

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