Genetics and neural circuits underlying memory and memory decline in Drosophilia

Cressy, M., Chatterjee, N., Krug, L., Qin, H, Li, W., Prazak, L., Dubnau, J.

There are two main areas of research in my lab. First, we are investigating genetic and neuronal mechanisms of memory using Drosophila as a model system. Second, we are using the genetics of the fly system to discover causes of human neurodegenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

An understanding of memory, indeed of all behavioral phenotypes, will require a multidisciplinary approach to forge conceptual links between the relevant genetic/cell signaling pathways and neural circuits. Work in genetic model systems such as Drosophila can contribute to our understanding in several ways. First, by enabling discovery of genes and genetic pathways underlying normal memory as well as pathological or degenerative cognitive disorders, model systems provide entry points for dissection of cellular mechanisms that are often conserved. Second, systematic manipulation of gene function within relevant anatomical circuits allows a conceptual integration of findings from cellular, neuroanatomical and behavioral levels.

"How to collect 60,000 fly heads"
  • Post-transcriptional regulatory network
  • Gamma neurons are the gateway for DA input to Drosophila mushroom bodies for aversive memory formation
  • Enhancer suppressor screening by selective breeding: the evolution of adenylyl cyclase independent learning in Drosophila