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Michael Kunst

Neuropeptidergic modulation of behavior

Neuropeptidergic signaling plays an important role in modulating arousal in vertebrates and invertebrates with the majority of these pathways conserved throughout evolution. For my research I decided to exploit the genetic tools of Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the role of neuropeptides on various behaviors related to arousal (e.g. sleep, circadian rhythm, stress responses, etc). The existence of various mutations for neuropeptide and/or neuropeptide receptor genes as well as the possibility to genetically target specific cell population offers a unique opportunity to explore how these signaling pathways affect behavior and to decipher the neural circuit underlying its function.