We use Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) to investigate how alcohol influences neurobiological functions. The lab's primary research focuses are as follows:


Isolating cell-type specific nuclei and performing RNA-sequencing help us see how alcohol exposures influence gene expression. Click on the interactive plot to see which transcripts are more interesting than others in memory-associated neurons of flies exposed to control (Odor) or alcohol+odor (Trained)!


Behavioral analysis

Video recording and free tracking programs allow us to investigate whether particular genes or cellular pathways influence behavioral response to alcohol. Watch the video (turn on audio for full effect) to see how a single gene mutation can influence how flies respond to ethanol vapor! (Red circles draw your attention to highly sensitive and resistant flies.)

  • Wildtype (left) and DopEcR mutants (right)

  • Immunohistochemistry

    By "staining" brain tissue, we can assess neural circuitry, excitability, and localization of interesting proteins. Here you can see all adult fly brain cells (blue, Dapi), memory-associated mushroom body neurons (magenta, 10B-gal4), and observe how many cells are Notch-active (green, Notch reporter). (Scale bar 50um)


    "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."― Marie Curie

  • Receptors and Channels Associated with Alcohol Use: Contributions from Drosophila. Neuroscience Insights, 2021
  • Alcohol Causes Lasting Differential Transcription in Drosophila Mushroom Body Neurons. Genetics, 2020
  • Significance of DopEcR, a G-protein coupled dopamine/ecdysteroid receptor, in physiological and behavioral response to stressors. J.Neurogenetics, 2020
  • Insights from intoxicated Drosophila. Alcohol, 2019
  • Alcohol Activates Scabrous-Notch to Influence Associated Memories. Neuron, 2018
  • The unique dopamine/ecdysteroid receptor modulates ethanol-induced sedation in Drosophila. JNeuro, 2016
  • Exaggerated nighttime sleep and defective sleep homeostasis in a Drosophila knock-in model of human epilepsy. PloS One, 2015