Nils Otto
Dr. rer. nat

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Institut für Anatomie & Vaskuläre Biologie

Vesaliusweg 2-4
48149 Münster

Telefon: +49 (0) 251 83-50206
Telefax: +49 (0) 251 83-50248
Email: Nils Otto

My research centers on synapses crucial for neuronal computations in learning and memory circuits, focusing on their molecular organization, functioning, and plasticity as well as the role of Neurexins. Neurexins interact with pre- and postsynaptic proteins to organise, for example, voltage gated calcium channels and neurotransmitter receptors. Neurexin dysfunction is associated with autism, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities, yet understanding it’s normal function and consequences of mutations remain incomplete. Thus, we explore the impact of clinically relevant mutations using translational approaches.

To study synaptic proteins in learning and memory circuits in vivo, Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model organism. Flies learn and remember, and the underlying molecular and cellular processes are remarkably similar - some even identical – across flies, mice, and humans; however, the genetic organisation is much simpler in Drosophila. To establish experimental model systems, I leverage cutting edge concepts in Connectomics and Computational neurobiology, as well as neuronal circuits with remarkable network functions, like updating memories. Using powerful tools for molecular, genetic, physiological, and behavioral experiments, available in Drosophila, I investigate the role of neurexins, their interaction partners, and clinically relevant mutations in synapses of learning and memory circuits in vivo.

  • Lebenslauf

    Titel:Dr. rer. nat.

    Beruflicher Werdegang

    2007 - 2010Studium der Biowissenschaften (B.Sc.), Universität Münster & Summer Internship: Max-Planck-Institut für Neurobiologie (Tavosanis Lab)
    2010 - 2012Studium der molekularen Biomedizin (M.Sc.), Klämbt Lab, Institut für Neurobiologie, Universität Münster & Summer Internship: Stanford University (Clandinin Lab)
    2013 - 2016Promotion (Dr. rer. nat), Klämbt Lab, Institut für Neurobiologie, Universität Münster
    2017Visiting Postdoc, Stanewsky Lab, Institut für Neurobiologie, Universität Münster
    2017 - 2022Postdoctoral Researcher, Waddell Lab, Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, Department for Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, UK
    2017 - 2018Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher, Connectomics group (Jefferis Lab), Department for Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK
    2018 - 2019Visiting Researcher, Rubin Lab, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, Virginia, US
    seit 2022Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter & Dozent, Missler Lab, Institut für Anatomie und Vaskuläre Biologie, Universität Münster


    Journals: Nature Communications (with Prof. Missler)
  • Publikationen

    Originalarbeiten (nur „peer-reviewed“):

    1. Risse B.*, Thomas S.*, Otto N., Löpmeier T., Valkov D., Jiang X., Klämbt C. (2013) FIM, a novel FTIR-based imaging method for high throughput locomotion analysis.; PLoS One 8(1):e53963; (*shared authorship)
    2. Risse B.*, Otto N.*, Berh D., Jiang X., Klämbt C. (2014) FIM imaging and FIMtrack: two new tools allowing high-throughput and cost effective locomotion analysis.; J Vis Exp (94): 52207; doi: 10.3791/52207 (*shared authorship)
    3. Risse B., Berh D., Otto N., Jiang X., Klämbt C. (2015) Quantifying subtle locomotion phenotypes of Drosophila larvae using internal structures based on FIM images; Comput Biol Med 63:269-76; doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2014.08.026
    4. Otto N.(#)*, Risse B.*, Berh D., Bittern J., Jiang X., Klämbt C. (2016) Interactions among Drosophila larvae before and during collision; Sci Rep 6:31564; doi: 10.1038/srep31564 (#: Supervising JB, *shared authorship)
    5. Risse B.*, Otto N.*, Berh D., Jiang X., Kiel M., Klambt C. (2017) FIM2c : A Multi-Colour, Multi-Purpose Imaging System to Manipulate and Analyse Animal Behaviour; IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 64(3):610-620; doi: 10.1109/TBME.2016.2570598 (*shared authorship)
    6. Risse B., Berh D., Otto N., Klämbt C., Jiang X. (2017) FIMTrack: An open source tracking and locomotion analysis software for small animals; PloS Computat Biol 13(5):e1005530; doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005530
    7. Almeida-Carvalho M.J., Berh D., Braun A., Chen Y-C., Eichler K., Eschbach C., Fritsch P.M.J., Gerber B., Hoyer N., Jiang X., Kleber J., Klämbt C., König C., Louis M., Michels B., Miroschnikow A., Mirth C., Miura D., Niewalda T., Otto N., Paisios E., Pankratz M.J., Petersen M., Ramsperger N., Randel N., Risse B., Saumweber T., Schlegel P., Schleyer M., Soba P., Sprecher S.G., Tanimura T., Thum A.S., Toshima N., Truman J.W.,Yarali A., Zlatic M. (2017) The Ol1mpiad: concordance of behavioural faculties of stage 1 and stage 3 Drosophila larvae; J Exp Biol 220(Pt 13):2452-2475; doi: 10.1242/jeb.156646
    8. Berh D.*, Risse B.*, Michels T., Otto N., Jiang X., Klambt C. (2017) A FIM-based Long-Term in-vial Monitoring System for Drosophila Larvae; IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 64(8):1862-1874; doi: 10.1109/TBME.2016.2628203 (*shared authorship)
    9. Berh D., Scherzinger A., Otto N., Jiang X., Klämbt C., Risse B. (2018) Automatic non-invasive heartbeat quantification of Drosophila pupae; Comput Biol Med 93:189-199; doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2017.12.017
    10. Otto, N.(#), Marelja Z., Schoofs A., Kranenburg H., Bittern J., Yildirim K., Berh D., Bethke M., Thomas S., Zipfel J., Rode S., Risse B., Jiang X., Pankratz M., Leimkühler S., Klämbt C. (2018) The sulfite oxidase Shopper controls neruronal activity by regulating glutamate homeostasis in Drosophila ensheathing glia; Nat Commun 9(1):3514; doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05645-z (#: Supervising JB & MB, JS, SR)
    11. Felsenberg J., Jacob P.F., Walker T., Barnstedt O., Edmondson-Stait A.J., Pleijzier M.W., Otto N.(#), Schlegel P., Sharifi N., Perisse E., Smith C.S., Lauritzen J.S., Costa M., Jefferis G.S.X.E., Bock D.D., Waddell S. (2018) Integration of Parallel Opposing Memories Underlies Memory Extinction; Cell 175(3):709-722; doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.021 (#: Supervising AJES & MWP)
    12. Otto N.(#), Pleijzier M.W., Morgan I.C., Edmondson-Stait A.J., Heinz K.J., Stark I., Dempsey G., Ito M., Kapoor I., Hsu J., Schlegel P.M., Bates A.S., Feng L., Costa M., Ito K., Bock D.D., Rubin G.M., Jefferis G.S.X.E., Waddell S. (2020) Input Connectivity Reveals Additional Heterogeneity of Dopaminergic Reinforcement in Drosophila; Curr Biol 30(16):3200-3211.e8; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.05.077 (#: Supervising: MWP, ICM, AJES, KJH, IS, GD, JH)
    13. Li F., Lindsey J.W., Marin E.C., Otto N.(#), Dreher M., Dempsey G., Stark I., Bates A.S., Pleijzier M.W., Schlegel P., Nern A., Takemura S.Y., Eckstein N., Yang T., Francis A., Braun A., Parekh R., Costa M., Scheffer L.K., Aso Y., Jefferis G.S., Abbott L.F., Litwin-Kumar A., Waddell S., Rubin G.M. (2020) The connectome of the adult Drosophila mushroom body provides insights into function; eLife 9:e62576; doi: 10.7554/eLife.62576 (#: Supervising GD, IS)
    14. Nojima T., Rings A., Allen A.M., Otto N., Verschut T.A., Billeter J.C., Neville M.C., Gutwin S.F. (2021) A sex-specific switch between visual and olfactory inputs underlies adaptive sex differences in behavior; Curr Biol 31(6):1175-1191.e6; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.12.047
    15. Mitchell J., Smith C.S., Titlow J., Otto N., van Velde P., Booth M.J., Davis I., Waddell S. (2021) Selective dendritic localization of mRNA in Drosophila mushroom body output neurons; eLife 10:e62770; doi: 10.7554/eLife.62770
    16. Park A., Croset V., Otto N., Agarwal D., Treiber C.D., Meschi E., Sims D., Waddell S. (2022) Gliotransmission of D-serine promotes thirst-directed behaviours in Drosophila; Curr Biol 32(18):3952-3970.e8; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.07.038
    17. Okray Z., Jacob P.F., Stern C., Desmond K., Otto N., Talbot C.B., Vargas-Gutierrez P., Waddell S. (2023) Multisensory learning binds modality-specific neurons into a cross-modal memory engram; Nature 617(7962):777-784; doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06013-8
    18. Jovanoski K.D., Duquenoy L., Mitchell J., Kapoor I.C., Treiber C.D., Croset V., Dempsey G., Parepalli S., Cognigni P., Otto N.(#), Felsenberg J., Waddell S. (2023) Dopaminergic systems create reward seeking despite adverse consequences; Nature 623(7986): 356-365; doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06671-8 (#: Third senior author, supervising GD)
    19. Otto N., Böckers A., Shiozawa T., Brunk I., Schumann S., Kugelmann D., Missler M., Darici D. (2024) Profiling learning strategies of medical students: A person-centered approach; Med Educ. 1-11; doi: 10.1111/medu.15388  -  [ epub ahead of print ]
  • Stipendien & Auszeichnungen

    2011Stipendiat der Heinrich Hertz Stiftung
    2011Stipendium des Deutschen Akademischen Auslands Dienst (PROMOS) – Zum Sommer Forschungsproject an der Stanford University, Kalifornien, US.
    2013 - 2016Fellowship for excellent graduate Students of the joint Cluster of Excellence (Cells in Motion) and international Max Planck research school (IMPRS) graduate school
    2014Price for the best scientific poster in recognition of the excellence of the scientific approach presented at the 9th International CIM-IMPRS GSM.
    2017Grant: CiM cluster of Excellence bridging grant