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Neural signal integration in Drosophila

Decoding the biological basis of decision making at the molecular, cellular and circuit levels


Current projects

Untangling neuropeptide and fast neurotransmitter signaling in a defined circuit

Neural circuits use a combination of classical fast neurotransmitters and modulatory peptide neurotransmitters to communicate. The clock circuit uses both types of signals to influence the circadian timing of sleep, feeding and locomotion. This project will use a combination of behavioral genetics and classical biochemical methods to understand how the circadian clock uses signals to output brain regions that drive locomotor and feeding behavior.

Integration of internal state and external environmental cues at the circuit level 

Organisms must make behavioral decisions based on an array of both internal state cues (like hunger or time of day) and external environmental cues (like availability of food or temperature). The Drosophila pars intercerebralis is a “hub” brain region that receives information about both state and environmental cues, and then releases an array of neuropeptides that influence fly behavior. This project will investigate how diverse signals integrate within the PI at the molecular and electrophysiological level to influence behavioral choice.




Rutgers University-Waksman Institute

190 Frelinghuysen Rd.
Piscataway, NJ 08854

Contact Info

let’s talk science!

The Barber Lab is currently recruiting postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students! To learn more about opportunities in the Barber Lab, please contact Annika via email or this contact form, to describe your interest in the lab and include your CV and contact information for three references.

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