Shaowu Zhang

Biomedical Science and Biochemistry

Group membership

One of the major challenges of modern biology is to unravel the mechanisms of the brain at a multitude of levels. This endeavour entails not only understanding the functioning of the most complex and sophisticated of organs, but understanding the process of understanding per se.

I chose the visual system as a break-through point for understanding the mechanisms of the brain. I prefer to use insects, especially honeybees as a model system to approach this goal. The bee's brain is small, but, like humans, they have trichromatic colour vision, motion sensitive vision, and spatial vision. Our team discovered that bees are capable of abstracting features of patterns, and like humans, they have visual illusions as well as top-down processing, they are able to use symbolic rules for navigating and even form concepts such as sameness' and 'difference'.

Research interests

My current interests focus on the following aspects:

  • Learning and memory in honeybees;
  • Visual cognition in the honeybee navigation;
  • The underlying neural substrates of visual navigation in honeybees;