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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

  • Jul 7, 2023, Kidd and Evans, 2023: Analysis of Axon Guidance in the Drosophila Embryo; Collection, Fixation, and Antibody Staining of Drosophila Embryos; Ventral Nerve Cord Dissection and Microscopy of Drosophila Embryos
    A series of papers (a topic introduction plus two protocol papers) from Tim and collaborator Tom Kidd on the analysis of embryonic axon guidance in Drosophila are now available online at Cold Spring Harbor Protocols! These articles are part of the Drosophila Neurobiology collection, edited by Bing Zhang, Ellie Heckscher, Alex C. Keene, and Scott Waddell.
  • May 9, 2023, Preprint: Slit-independent guidance of longitudinal axons by Drosophila Robo3
    Our lab's newest preprint is live today on bioRxiv! You can read it at this link.
  • Apr 20, 2023, University of Arkansas News article on Selom's fellowship
    Selom appears in today's University of Arkansas News, in an article highlighting her recent Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future fellowship award.
  • Apr 20, 2023, Farfán-Pira et al., 2023: A cis-regulatory sequence of the wing selector gene, vestigial, drives the evolution of scaling relationships in Drosophila species
    Our lab's collaborative paper examining the evolution of vestigial enhancer sequences is now online at the Journal of Experimental Biology! This paper includes some of Keity Farfán Pira's work carried out during her visit to the Evans lab in 2021, as part of a collaborative project between our lab and the lab of Dr. Marcos Nahmad at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (Cinvestav-IPN) in Mexico City.
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