Genes and Circuits Underlying Olfactory Behavior and Neurodegeneration
There are two major areas of research in the Dubnau Lab.
- First, we use the available toolbox for genetic manipulation in Drosophila melanogaster to uncover mechanistic underpinnings of olfactory guided behaviors Pavlovian olfactory task, with a strong emphasis on understanding the organization of neural circuits and the genes that function within them.
- The second major focus is to investigate a novel mechanism that we have proposed to underlie amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). We have accumulated evidence to support the idea that some age related brain disorders such as ALS and FTLD involve activation of retrotransposons, which are viral like genetic entities that make up approximately 40% of the human genome. Our work on ALS/FTLD relies on a multidisciplinary approach that includes in vivo genetic experiments in animal models, analysis of post mortem human tissue, and cell culture assays.