Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are utilised as a model organism for studying complex behaviour such as sleep, learning and memory, aggression, social behaviour, but also to investigate disease. However, there is currently a lack of comprehensive coherent packages that allow scientific labs to experiment, track and analyse fruit flies in a high-throughput manner with a simple plug-and-play system.
BFK addresses this gap by providing hardware and software solutions for Drosophila behavioural investigations. The primary objective of BFK is to offer the following solutions for your experimental investigations:

  • Durable and reliable equipment for high-throughput behavioural analysis.

  • User-friendly software packages for high-efficacy tracking, and analysis/visualisation of large datasets.

  • Support and guidance in design of experimental investigations.

Our team offers the combined expertise from the fields of engineering, instrument design, computational neuroscience, and behavioural science to provide hardware and software equipment that can cater to your research needs. Based on our original publication “How deeply does your mutant sleep? Probing arousal to better understand sleep defects in Drosophila”, we developed equipment specific for high-throughput use built around the DART software.

It all started when we developed a new methodology to study general anaesthesia in the fly (Kottler et al, 2013). As general anaesthesia is characterized by the loss of responsiveness to noxious stimuli we developed a simple approach where flies were recorded for only 1min before and after the stimuli. Then we applied this methodology to look at stimuli response across day and night. This is how we explored the sleep intensity dynamics in Drosophila (Van Alphen et al, 2013). While pioneering, this study by itself couldn’t move the field forward as it was technically too restrictive. The program had to be user-friendly without requiring extensive coding knowledge. Moreover, not every institute can have access to a workshop to design the hardware.

This is why we decided to put our energy in developing robust, reliable, easily adaptable methodology offering freedom to the users to design their experiments and to analyse their results.

We developed and keep on developing the DART system (Faville & Kottler, et al., 2015)  but also offer the hardware equipment.

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