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Special Lecture by Dr. Gaurav Das on “The food fly: neural circuits of feeding and emesis in Drosophila”
March 24 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Title: The food fly: neural circuits of feeding and emesis in Drosophila
Our group is broadly interested in understanding how the brain communicates with the gut and other organ systems to regulate food/nutrient intake. Food intake is mainly influenced by innate sensory inputs and also by memories of past feeding experiences. We have developed and improved handy assays for quantifying feeding and memory in flies. Armed with these assay we are trying to understand the neural circuitry that control specific feeding phenotypes.
The ability to avoid, and reject toxic foods that cause malaise are of the greatest importance to animals. Incredibly, fruit flies show emesis or vomiting upon toxin ingestion. We show that the requirement of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in regulating emesis is conserved between flies and mammals. We also have evidencethat suggests that flies form a robust long-lasting aversive memory, reinforced by the internal sickness caused by toxin ingestion. We are now elucidating the circuitry that underlies innate and naive emesis in flies.
About the speaker:
Gaurav did his BSc in Chemistry with Microbiology from Ahmednagar College, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, and then an MSc in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. For his Ph.D., he studied mouse retina development, in the lab of Dr. Edward Levine, at The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. He then moved to the lab of Dr. Scott Waddell, at the UMASS Chan Medical School, to understand how aversive food memories are formed in the Drosophila brain and guide behavior. He moved with the lab to the University of Oxford, UK to continue his postdoctoral research. In December 2017, he joined NCCS to establish the Brain and Feeding Behavior Laboratory.