The fly female reproductive system has been used as a model to understand causes of infertility, genetics of ovarian cancer, and non-hormonal contraceptive development. Despite the significance of understanding reproductive physiology and the recent advances in establishing animal models to study reproductive physiology, the nervous system regulation has been understudied and remains unclear. The broad question that I am interested in is: how does the nervous system sense and control the female reproductive system?
What type of information do sensory neurons encode to inform ourselves about the position of our bodies? What information is relevant or irrelevant? How is relevant stimuli amplified and how is irrelevant stimuli gated?
In the lab of John Tuthill at the University of Washington, I am interested in understanding how sensory inputs, such as Drosophila leg proprioceptors, are modulated presynaptically by using all-optical electrophysiology.
It can’t be denied that fruit flies are legendarily capable of reproducing at high rates – especially in kitchens during summer. How do they achieve such high numbers of progeny? How do fruit flies ovulate? What is the ovulation stimulus and the cellular responses?
In the lab of Jianjun Sun at the University of Connecticut, I was interested in understanding how ovulation occurs in Drosophila. My work described an ovulatory stimulus (Octopamine), an intracellular response (calcium), an enzymatic response (MMP2), and a transcription factor responsible for the coordination of the cells’ competency (hindsight).