I’m interested in how neural circuits generate behavior. In the Branson lab, I work on developing assays for quantitative behavioral analysis of fruit flies. I believe understanding the functional output of the brain provides a necessary framework for using the genetic tools in the fruit fly to dissect the neural circuits controlling behavior. We’re currently focused on walking behaviors but hope to move forward to environments where the flies can behave more freely.
I did my Ph.D. work in the laboratory of Michael Dickinson where I studied the sensory cues walking fruit flies use to shape their behavior while exploring a topologically complex arena. Kristin and I began our collaboration combining computer vision and biology while at Caltech and there developed the first walking behavioral assay using Ctrax. My interest in neural circuits and their function was sparked by my undergraduate work in the laboratory of Eve Marder, studying the STG circuit. I was convinced of the power of invertebrate models for the study of neural circuit function but also motivated to find a model organism with behaviors I could see!
- B.S., Brandeis University, Waltham (2002)
- Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (2010)