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Drosophila research experts - Neuroscience & Behaviour

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Now's the time for Fly

Fly is the first international peer-reviewed journal to focus on Drosophila research. Having expanded the editorial board to include even more experts in the field of Drosophila from all over the world, Fly is quickly becoming the 'go to' journal for Drosophila research.

To meet more experts joining us on our journey click here.

Stephen F. Goodwin

Stephen studied genetics in Glasgow and researched Drosophila learning and memory for his PhD. As a postdoc at Brandeis with Nobel laureate Jeffrey C. Hall he used molecular-genetic and behavioural approaches in the fruit fly to understand how the sexual identity of a nervous system and its behaviours are specified.

Upon return to the UK he spent 10 years leading a research group at the University of Glasgow, arriving in Oxford in 2009, where he is now a Professor of Neurogenetics and a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator.

He belongs to the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, along with the Miesenböck and Waddell groups, and studies the genetic, developmental, and neural mechanisms underlying sex-specific behaviours.

Stephen believes that your peers are very influential: so, being intrinsically lazy, he surrounds himself with bright people to up his game. Jeff Hall once told Stephen, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols" should be your scientific mantra: live by it and don’t forget it.

Three Selected Publications:

drosophila Behaviour expert JStephen F. Goodwin

Marla Sokolowski

Dr Sokolowski, who describes herself as 'a Toronto girl', studied to doctoral level at the University of Toronto (U of T) before joining York University for her first academic position.

In 1998 she returned to U of T where she is currently a University Professor in the Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

She is an award-winning, internationally-renowned behavioural geneticist, whose work using Drosophila, as well as other experimental models, including humans, has redefined how we frame questions about individual differences in behaviour.

Her first major discovery came in 1976 when working on larval foraging behaviour as an undergraduate, against the advice of her then professor. Nevertheless it provided the foundation for almost four decades of ground-breaking research in her lab.

Three Selected Publications

Estee Kurant

Estee Kurant leads a research group at the University of Haifa, Israel. She was born in Russia (Soviet Union), in the Siberian city of Tomsk. Following her parents' career path, she initially studied medicine at the Tomsk Medical School, were she fell in love with Cell Biology and Genetics. In 1990 she moved to Israel and switched from medical studies to Biology at the Technion, te Israel Institute of Technology. Since her BSc student project she has worked with flies.

Estee's group focuses on molecular and cellular mechanisms of cell clearance during development and in adults. Her interests comprise the role of glial phagocytosis in formation and aging of the nervous system including fly models of neurodegenerative diseases. 

Estee loves dancing and skiing, and very much enjoys rock music, opera and ballet.

The Selected Publications

Oren Schuldiner

Oren was trained at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His PhD, under the instruction of Prof. Nissim Benvenisty, focused on cancer studies in mice. A life-changing talk by Cori Goodman made Oren change course and focus on neurodevelopment using flies as a model during his postdoc with Liqun Luo at Stanford.

In his current laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive neuronal remodeling. Remodeling is an essential and conserved step in nervous system wiring.

Oren is married to another WIS professor, Maya, and they have three boys – Daniel, Noam and Mattan. In his spare time Oren likes to mountain bike, scuba-dive and hike (mostly in the desert).

Three Selected Publications

Simon G. Sprecher

Pelin C. Volkan

Dr. Volkan is an Associate Professor of Biology in Duke University.

Originally from Turkey, she did her PhD at UNC Chapel Hill and her postdoc with Larry Zipursky at UCLA.

Her research focus is to understand how the brain is shaped by development and experience, using the fly olfactory (odor-responsive) system. Her laboratory has identified fundamental molecular programs that govern neuronal diversity, specification and wiring patterns in the olfactory system, as well as how these programs are modified by ecological pressures and experience.

She enjoys martial arts, is a former basketball player, and almost became a movie critic after college, but finally chose molecular biology and genetics instead.

Three Selected Publications

Ryusuke Niwa

Ryusuke Niwa leads the Physiological Dynamics research group in the Life Science Center for Survival Dynamics, Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance, University of Tsukuba, Japan.

The major aim of his laboratory is to elucidate the neuroendocrine system and interorgan communication mechanism to regulate development and physiology.

Since 2008 when he started his own laboratory, he has mainly using Drosophila and studied ecdysone biosynthesis, germline stem cell proliferation, energy homeostasis, reproductive dormancy, host-parasitoid wasp interaction, and chemical biology of pesticides.

He is a person who named the following 5 Drosophila genes, including slingshot, neverland, noppera-bo, ouija board, and séance.

Three Selected Publications


Peter Dearden

Peter Dearden is at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He completed his PhD in London, UK, was a postdoc with Michael Akam in Cambridge and then began his own lab in New Zealand in 2002.

He is interested in Evolution and Development, how gene regulatory networks evolve, the molecular mechanisms of plasticity and the evolution of eusociality.

He has been viciously bitten by Zephr, one of only 204 Kākāpō (the world’s rarest parrot) left in the world.

Three Selected Publications

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Meet the Editor in Chief

Howy Jacobs, Professor of Molecular Biology at Tampere University, Finland. Former Chief Editor of EMBO Reports.
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Now's the time for Fly

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