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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

  • Mar 1, 2023, Fly meeting 2023
    Tim, Selom, and Piyasi traveled to Chicago, IL for the 64th Annual Drosophila Research Conference. Deep dish pizza, jollof rice, masala dosa, and five days of excellent and inspiring science with the international fly community!
  • Jan 9, 2023, Welcome Ashton!
    BIOL PhD student Ashton Magdich has joined the Evans lab as our newest graduate student. Ashton's PhD project will focus on the roles of the Robo2 axon guidance receptor in Drosophila embryonic nervous system development.
  • Oct 11, 2022, Hauptman et al., 2022: Characterization of enhancer fragments in Drosophila robo2
    Our paper based on Gina's undergraduate honors thesis project identifying enhancer regions within the robo2 gene is now available online in its final peer-reviewed form at Fly!
  • Aug 3, 2022, Preprint: Characterization of enhancer fragments in Drosophila robo2
    Our lab's newest preprint is live today on bioRxiv! You can read it at this link.
  • Read more news