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 structure, function and evolution of nervous systems. We focus on the olfactory system, which mediates recognition of myriad environmental signals to control diverse behaviours. As a model, we use Drosophila melanogaster, whose nervous system is sophisticated but numerically simple and experimentally highly tractable; many of our projects involve comparative functional approaches with both closely related drosophilid species and more evolutionarily distant invertebrates. We take a multidisciplinary approach, including bioinformatics, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, electrophysiology, optical imaging, and behavioural analysis. Our work provides fundamental insights into how nervous systems develop, operate and change, as well as offering opportunities to devise novel chemical sensors and rational strategies to control the odour-guided behaviours of insect vectors of disease and agricultural pests.

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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