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principal investigator

As an animal, your nervous system allows you to sense and respond to your environment, form and retrieve memories, and learn from past experiences. All of this is possible because the billions of nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord are connected to each other and to other cells throughout your body in very precise ways. Although our brains change as we grow and age, many of the most fundamental connections are formed very early during embryonic development. And, although everyone’s brain is unique, basic patterns of neural connectivity are shared in humans and non-human animals alike.

Our lab is interested in how animal nervous systems are properly wired during development. Using the embryonic insect nervous system as a model, we study the genetic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms that specify patterns of neuronal connectivity. We use insects like the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster because they have relatively simple nervous systems, but they are built using the same principles as more complex brains like our own. The molecular and genetic tools available in Drosophila allow us to manipulate genes and cells in the developing fly embryo while we examine how they assemble themselves into a functioning nervous system. For more details about specific projects we are working on in the lab, see our Research page.

Lab News

  • Feb 15, 2018, Tim's seminar at NSU
    Tim traveled to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK to give an invited seminar as part of the Science and Technology Seminar Series. Thanks to John de Banzie and the Department of Natural Sciences for the invitation!
  • Feb 1, 2018, Brown et al in the February 2018 issue of G3
    Our paper describing the functional roles of Robo1 Fibronectin repeats has been published in the February 2018 issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics.
  • Dec 7, 2017, In vivo functional analysis of Drosophila Robo1 fibronectin type III repeats
    Haley, Marie, and Tim published a paper today describing our structure-function analysis of all three Fn domains within the Drosophila Robo1 receptor. Check it out online at G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics!
  • Nov 27, 2017, Tim's seminar at KU
    Tim traveled to the University of Kansas to deliver an invited seminar in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. Thanks to Brian Ackley and the folks in the Departments of Molecular Biosciences and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology for a great visit!
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