Neurobiology and Genetics
My research group is interested in context-dependent modulation of behaviors and physiological processes by neuropeptides and their G-protein coupled receptors. The nervous systems of animals utilize a wide variety of chemicals for neuronal communication. These include amino acids, biogenic amines, and neuropeptides amongst others. Neuropeptides are by far the most diverse, and control a range of essential physiological processes including feeding, metabolism, sleep, stress, reproduction, development and locomotion. The group is interested in understanding how neuropeptides mediate their effects in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. They utilize multiple approaches including standard molecular techniques, CRISPR/Cas9, Drosophila genetics, behavioral analyses, optogenetics and calcium imaging. One focus is on the development of cutting-edge genetic tools to study neuropeptide function in Drosophila.