Neurogenetic Approaches to Study Directed Behavior in Drosophilla

Project: Research project

Project Details


The long term goal is to provide a framework to understand how a simple, innate behavior emerges from the activity of the nervous system. For this, molecular genetics techniques, electrophysiology and imaging technologies to study the mechanisms underlying temperature processing and preference in Drosophila -a system ideally suited for a comprehensive genetic and molecular dissection of neural circuits and behaviors, are applied. The lab’s recent work has demonstrated that a simple sensory map represents temperature stimuli in the fly brain. It has also shown that a coordinated ensemble of second order neurons extracts information about the sign, onset, magnitude and duration of a temperature change from this simple map. The research is now proposing to delve deeper into the cellular and molecular mechanism that make this transformation possible. The expectation is that the results of this work will reveal new mechanisms and principles of somatosensory processing in the nervous system, will complement discoveries on differential feature extraction in other sensory modalities, and will have implications of interest to the broader neuroscience community, informing work on information processing within neural circuits. This work is also expected to contribute to the general understanding of the function of the neural circuits that control somatosensory responses (temperature and pain) in animals, potentially providing insights on genetic and neurological conditions which affect neuronal excitability resulting in devastating medical conditions such as chronic pain.
Effective start/end date4/1/193/31/24


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (5R01NS086859-09)


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