Research Positions: Fruit Fly Fight Club

Research Assistant Positions: Fruit Fly Fight Club
Kravitz Laboratory, Professor Edward Kravitz (Harvard Medical School)
fall 2019

Male and female fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) fight in same sex pairings. Male fights go to higher intensity levels and end up in the formation of hierarchical relationships, while female fights commonly are at lower intensity levels and do not establish hierarchies. Our laboratory is using state of the art genetic tools that allow us to go to single identified neuron levels in brain in order to examine: the circuitry involved in triggering aggression in both sexes and examining the factors important in going to higher levels of intensity of aggression during fights. We manipulate all of these elements in freely behaving animals. Our plans for the immediate future are to record optogenetically from the neurons involved. As in all species, substances like amines (serotonin and dopamine) and peptides are important modulators of aggression. We have identified and partially worked out the circuitry involved with single pairs of serotonin neurons that facilitate going to higher levels of aggression in male fights (see
Curr Biol. 2019 Jul 8;29(13):2145-2156). Requirements: Desirable prerequisites are Introductory Genetics and Neurobiology, and we prefer students who might be interested in working on an honors thesis in the future. Other Information: Principal Investigator is Edward A. Kravitz, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School; contact: ; Harvard Medical School, Armenise 1, rm 353; Learning outcomes: Students will be given their own projects that will be part of the overall laboratory project. They will learn behavioral, genetic and immunohistochemical methods, present regular laboratory seminars, and attend local and national meetings in later years. Most students will generate a literature publication on their studies. Number of hours students are expected to work, length of the project (paid or unpaid): We are interested in having one or two undergraduates working with us part time during the academic year (unpaid—up to 6 hrs per week) and full time (paid) in summers. Mentoring: Students will work directly with a post-doctoral fellow and will be considered regular members of our laboratory. This involves attending and delivering talks at weekly lab meetings, carrying fly stocks, performing and analyzing experiments, etc. To Apply: If interested, please send a cv and names of potential recommenders to Dr. Kravitz at (posted 10/2019)