Associate Professor and Grad Chair
Molecular and Cell Biology
We are interested in how an animal with a specific history and internal state responds to cues in a stereotyped manner. We use unbiased phenotypic and molecular approaches that can reveal undiscovered genetic and neural circuit bases for behavior. Drosophila has a relatively simple nervous system that can code sophisticated behaviors. Tools in flies allow precise manipulation of genes and the signaling properties of specific cells. The high level of molecular conservation between flies and humans may extend to circuit motifs and molecules in behavior. Current research focuses on the actions of the widely abused drug alcohol, and the motivational properties of thirst. Our goal is to understand how motivational states are represented in the brain, and how addiction co-opts normal brain functions.
Genetic and neural coding of behavior in Drosophila
QSB Emphasis Areas:
Molecular Systems Biology
Cellular Systems Biology