School of Life Sciences

Alonso Lab


RNA control of neural development, physiology and behaviour

We use molecular biology, genetics, advanced microscopy and behavioural approaches to study how genes control the formation and function of the brain.

Our laboratory applies a ‘neurogenetic’ approach that combines genetics, molecular biology, microscopy and behavioural methods to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and physiological control of the nervous system. For this, we exploit the fast life-cycle, advanced genetics and simple brain of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, where all neurons have been mapped; this enables us to test ideas quickly and deduce some of the general principles by which genes control the biology of neurons in all organisms, including humans.

Much of our work uses a specific group of genes – the Hox genes – which encode an evolutionary conserved family of transcription factors required for the correct formation and function of the nervous system. We make use of the Hox system to study how RNA regulation – particularly, microRNA regulation – affects the development, function and degeneration of the nervous system. This recently led us to discover pervasive effects of microRNA regulation on neural function, which we are currently investigating at the molecular, cellular, circuit, and behavioural scales.

The lab is driven by an international group of talented Post-docs, PhD students and Technicians with diverse backgrounds and interests that range from molecular biology, development, neurophysiology and behaviour. The common denominator across all lab members is our strong commitment to understand how gene regulatory programmes control the formation and function of the brain.


Informal enquiries about joining the lab are very welcome and should be addressed to:

Alonso Lab NEWS


We are keen to consider sponsoring externally-funded Postdoctoral Fellows and supervising externally/internally-funded PhD Students who have a passion about modern biology and wish to join us to develop their work in our lab. If you are interested please contact Claudio Alonso at:



Claudio R. Alonso
Professor of Developmental Neurobiology
Department of Neuroscience, School of Life Sciences

Sussex Neuroscience
School of Life Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QG
United Kingdom

T +44 1273 87 66 21