Marie Guiraud

Rm: 2.16 Fogg Building


Research interests

Simple models might be useful for the study of cognition. Hence, a wonderful model to uncover mechanisms of behavioural repertoire is the bee brain (honey bee and bumble bee predominantly). Bees possess a mini-brain with fewer than a million neurons, and yet exhibit impressive capabilities in learning and memory (in various sensory modalities: vision, olfaction and gustation). Unravelling the mysteries behind bee cognition by exploring the underlying neural mechanisms represents a very exciting challenge.

I am broadly interested in cognitive neuroscience, learning and memory. My research focuses on the behavioural aspects of visual object recognition, navigational processes and visual learning mechanisms in the bee brain. During my PhD I will use a combination of field methods and laboratory techniques to understand how bees see.

Research from my MSc


I did my master’s thesis in neurosciences and cognition under the supervision of Prof. Martin Giurfa and Dr Gabriela de Brito Sanchez in the Centre de Recherche sur la Cognition animale (C.R.C.A, Toulouse, France). During my master’s project, I was particularly interested in gustatory discrimination capabilities of honey bees. I worked on the gustatory conditioning of the sting extension reflex. We determined what gustatory substances bees can discriminate. I also used neuropharmacological tools to reveal the main neural pathways involved in the gustatory conditioning of the sting extension reflex.



Guiraud M., Roper M. & Chittka L. (2018) High-Speed Videography Reveals How Honeybees Can Turn a Spatial Concept Learning Task Into a Simple Discrimination Task by Stereotyped Flight Movements and Sequential Inspection of Pattern Elements. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:1347. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01347.

Guiraud M., Hotier L., Giurfa M. & de Brito Sanchez M.G. (2018) Aversive gustatory learning and perception in honey bees. Scientific Reports 8: 1343

Mengoni Goñalons C., Guiraud M., de Brito Sanchez M.G. &  Farina W.M.  (2017) Insulin effects on honeybee appetitive behaviour.

Educational background

2013 – 2014 Master 2 Neurosciences and signalling. University Paris-Sud 11, France.

2012 – 2013 Master 1 Neurosciences, behaviour and cognition. University of Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France.

2011 – 2012 1st semester in Magistere of Neurosciences. University of Valparaiso, Chile.

2008 – 2011 Licence Biology of organisms, populations and ecosystem, University of Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, France.


Cambridge University Press Award for the best talk, ASAB easter conference 2018 – Plymouth (UK)


Faculty of 1000 Award for the best poster communication, 15th French Conference on Invertebrate Neurobiology – Toulouse (France) – Poster Presentation