We are utilizing behavioral assays as well as calcium imaging and optogenetics to interrogate the neuronal circuits, biochemical pathways and genes involved. We use multiple behavioral assays ranging from naïve taste perception to discriminative learning. A single fly conditioning assay is established in the lab as well as several taste/feeding assays to improve our understanding of taste and memmory processing and feeding behavior. In adition, an optogenetic and thermogenetic systems are developed in the lab and are available to control the function and activity of specific neuronal populations to interrogate function of neural circuits in an intact behaving fly.
1. Taste perception and processing, feeding-driven motivational behavior and decision making
2. The molecular basis of synaptic plasticity and neuronal circuits underlying gustatory learning and memory in adult fruit fly.
3. Optogenetic and thermogenetic techniques in neuronal control of taste, feeding, memory, and sleep
4. Characterization and discrimination of different taste modalities
5. Evolutionary changes leading to altered feeding and motivational behavior