Sleep-metabolism interactions in the fruit fly
Disrupted sleep is thought to contribute to many metabolic diseases including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. We have found that flies, like mammals, suppress sleep when starved, providing a system to interrogate sleep-metabolism interactions. We have performed a screen to identify novel regulators of sleep-metabolism interactions and are currently investigating the genes and neural circuits that integrate these processes.
The evolution of sleep loss in Mexican cavefish
We identified the evolution of sleep loss in Mexican cavefish. We have been developing this system over the past 10 years to identify novel sleep genes, and understand why sleep varies throughout the animal kingdom. We are also developing transgenic tools to image brain activity and manipulate neural function in this emergent genetic model system.
Neural mechanisms governing taste memory in the fruit fly
We are currently investigating neural circuits governing feeding behavior and taste memory in the fly. We have identified a dopamine modulated circuit that controls the formation of aversive taste memory. In addition, we have characterized the taste of fatty acids and identified novel fatty acid receptors in flies.