Against the backdrop of the scenic Lake Mendota, the C. elegans Neurobiology Meeting came to a head. Expertly organised by Brian Ackley and Bruce Bamber and hosted at the accommodating University of Wisconsin, the meeting brought together recent contributions from many of the major research groups working on the neurobiology of C. elegans. With seven keynote speakers, 57 verbal presentations and hundreds of posters, this exciting event spanned a fascinating 3days from 27 June to 30 June 2010. In keeping with the tradition of this conference, the event on the whole was spearheaded by young investigators from several research institutions. The meeting served to emphasise the gains enjoyed by taking advantage of the genetic tractability of the worm. A thread that ran through the meeting was the importance of integrating data across different levels of biological organisation to permit delineation of the physiology underpinning discrete behavioural states. Recent advances in optogenetics and microfluidics were at the forefront of refining these analyses. The presentations discussed in this meeting report are a selection which reflects this overarching theme.