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Instituto Cajal (CSIC) (until August 2014)
Avenida Doctor Arce, 37

28002 - Madrid


Job opportunities

Dr Gonzalo de Polavieja
Neuronal Circuits and Behaviour
The European Neuroscience Insitute in Paris, Pasteur

Research Area

Social animals, from ants to humans, learn and decide taking into account what other animals are doing. Their brains must then combine both social and non-social information for appropriate decision-making and learning in a group. Our group studies, at molecular, neuronal and behavioral levels, the rules of this combination.

We follow a multidisciplinary approach, combining theory and behavioral and neurobiological experiments in zebrafish and humans. To this end, we adapt and produce new tools, including new tracking systems of unmarked animals in groups with no propagation of errors, new types of analysis of social interactions and theory of how decision-making takes place in social scenarios. A combination of these quantitative approaches with molecular biology, genetics, electrophsysiology and imaging allows us to pursue a program of social neurobiology working from molecular and circuits levels to behavior in a group.

For further information, please also see:


5 Selected Publications

Pérez-Escudero A., Miller N., Hartnett AT., Garnier S., Couzin ID., de Polavieja GG. (2013) Estimation models describe well collective decisions amon g three options. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A., 110 (37) : E4366-7.

Arganda S., Perez-Escudero A., de Polavieja GG. (2012) A common rule for decision-making in animal collectives across specied. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A.,  109 (50) : 20508-13.

Pérez-Escudero A., de Polavieja GG. (2011) Collective animal behavior from Bayesian estimation and probability matching. PLoS Comput. Biol., 7 (11) : e1002282.

Rivera-Alba M., Vitaladevuni SN., Mischenko Y., Lu Z., Takemura S., Scheffer L., Meinertzhagen IA., Chklovskii DB., de Polavieja GG. (2011) Wiring economy and volume exclusion determine neuronal placement in the Drosophila brain. Curr. Biol., 21 (23) : 2000-5.

Pérez-Escudero A., Rivera-Alba M., de Polavieja GG. (2009) Structure of deviations from optimality in biological systems. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A.,  106 (48) : 20544-9.

Awards, Fellowships and Honours

2002            ‘Ramón y Cajal’ Fellowship (until 2005)
2002            Grass Fellowship
1999            Wellcome Trust fellowship in Mathematical Biology (until 2002)
1996            Marie Curie Training Fellwoship (TMR, Category 20, Contract number: FMBIC950102) (until 1999)
1992            FPU Fellowship, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

Technical Expertise
  • Mathematical modeling of neuronal circuits and behavior
  • New analysis techniques for social interactions
  • New methods of tracking in animal groups
  • Quantitative neuroanatomy
  • Information theory
  • Signal analysis for electrophsysiological and imaging data