Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Yanying (Tiffany) Chen Sciences

Control of Feeding by Mechanosensory Receptor Neurons in Drosophila’s Gastrointestinal Tract

Obesity constitutes one of the greatest public health challenges, having a high prevalence and increasing the risk of serious complications. Obesity is essentially caused by an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure, which is under the tight regulation of the nervous system. The goal of this project is to investigate the genetic causes of abnormal food intake and eating regulation, by studying the different mechanosensory and chemosensory receptors present in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster’s digestive system. Tiffany will perform immunofluorescent staining and imaging using confocal fluorescence microscopy to identify the specific neurons that are involved in gut-brain communication. Following identification, Tiffany will analyze the spatial distribution of neural innervation and characterize the physiological and behavioral functions of specific neurons. The outcomes will further the understanding of neuron function and feeding regulation mechanisms.

Major: Molecular & Cell Biology and Public Health
Mentor: Mentor: Kristin Scott, Molecular & Cell Biology
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