Model Systems MIT neuroscientists use a host of model organisms to study synaptic, neuronal and brain function, as well as to model neurological diseases. To find out more about these organisms and their uses at MIT, click on a model system below. Baker's Yeast The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been a powerful model to study a host of biological phenomena. C. elegans Studies of the tiny nematode C. elegans have helped reveal neuronal and synaptic mechanisms that are shared among organisms as diverse as roundworms and humans and that are implicated in a broad variety of human diseases. Drosophila The fruit fly Drosophila offers great promise for dissecting the molecular circuitry underling a host of complex neurological behaviors, from learning to courtship. Planaria Planarians are bilaterally symmetric metazoans that possess almost unlimited regenerative capacities and that have been a classic regeneration model for over a century. Rodents Laboratory rodents have long been used to as a model for mammalian brain development and function. The similarity in nervous system organization and function across mammalian species makes rodents a favored system for studying analogues of human neurological disease. Songbirds Songbirds such as the zebra finch have emerged as a preferred model to study speech acquisition and the development and function of the underlying neuronal circuitry of complex behavior. Zebrafish The zebrafish, Danio rario, is a powerful vertebrate model to study patterning and other processes that give rise to the three-dimensional organization of the nervous system during development.