Date: May 23, 2019. 10:30
Location: CCU Seminar Room
Title: Genetic and Neural Basis of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Drosophila
Affiliation: Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
Sleep serves essential biological functions and is conserved from flies to humans, but why we sleep and how sleep is regulated remain largely unknown. Circadian and homeostatic processes are two key mechanisms that generally ensure sufficient sleep at night. However, because sleep is incompatible with other activities, sometimes we forgo sleep to engage in other critical behaviors, highlighting the importance of motivational factors in sleep regulation. My lab investigates the genetic and neural mechanisms underlying the integration of various cues for sleep and arousal, using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model system. Through forward-genetic screens, we have identified several novel sleep and circadian genes and sleep-regulatory neurons. I will present our work on the choice between sleep and courtship mediated by a neural circuit that includes octopaminergic and dopaminergic neurons. I will also discuss work on sleep and circadian regulation by a cell cycle gene Taranis and a synaptic scaffold protein Dyschronic. Our work identifies key players in the complex interplay between sleep, reproduction, metabolism, and synaptic plasticity.