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To better understand the biological mechanisms mediating the effect of social isolation on behavior, I’ve conducted a large-scale forward genetic screen for mutations that disrupt the normal response to social isolation - increased aggression, decreased daytime sleep and increased alcohol resistance.
I received my PhD in Developmental Biology from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund/ University College London, under the supervision of Dr. Julian Lewis. My thesis examined the role of Notch signaling in the development of the chick inner ear. I completed my post-doctoral training under Ulrike Heberlein at UCSF. Here I discovered that regulation of synapse number is a principal mechanism controlling alcohol sensitivity, a predictor of alcohol abuse. I also discovered that social isolation increases alcohol resistance - which lead me to my interest in the effects of social isolation. I joined Janelia as a staff scientist in Sept 2013.