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behavioral genetics, Drosophila, ion channels, molecular genetics, neurobiology, sensory systems

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406 Monsanto Hall



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We study the genetic, molecular, and neuronal mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity at different time scales by using the powerful genetic model, Drosophila melanogaster and the emerging model for social behaviors, the European honey bee Apis mellifera. We have also initiated studies of the mammalian lung as a sensory organ. We currently focus our attention on the activity of GPCRs, ion channels and ion transporters in the peripheral and central nervous systems. We ask where, when, and how the function of specific genes is affecting behavioral plasticity and the behavioral response to environmental and social signals.

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Yehuda Ben-Shahar

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Molecular and genetic analyses of behavior; System analyses of sensory pathways

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11/10/2011 10:54 AM


Greenberg J*, Xia J, Zhang W, Thatcher S, Ament S, Newman T, Green P, Robinson GE and Ben-Shahar Y.  Behavioral plasticity in honey bees is associated with major differences in brain microRNA transcriptome. In revision for Genes, Brain, and Behavior 2011.
Ben-Shahar Y.  Sensory functions for Degenerin/Epithelial sodium channels (DEG/ENaC). Advances in Genetics 2011 76: 1-25.
Ben-Shahar Y, Lu B, Collier DM, Snyder PM, Schnizler M and Welsh MJ. The Drosophila Gene CheB42a Is a Novel Modifier of Deg/ENaC Channel Function. PLOS One 2010 5(2): e9395.
Shah A*, Ben-Shahar Y*, Moninger TO, Kline JN and Welsh MJ. Motile Cilia of Human Airway Epithelia Are Chemosensory. Science 2009 325:1131-1134. *Equal contribution.
Sun Y, Liu L, Ben-Shahar Y, Jacobs JS, Eberl DF and Welsh MJ. TRPA channels distinguish gravity sensing from hearing in Johnston’s organ. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009 106: 13606–13611.
Ben-Shahar Y, Nannapaneni K, Casavant TL, et al. Eukaryotic operon-like transcription of functionally related genes in Drosophila. PNAS 2007 104: 222–227.
Ben-Shahar Y, Robichon A, Sokolowski MB and Robinson GE. Influence of gene action across different time scales on behavior. Science 2002 296:741-744.

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Thumbnail_Image_Url Photos Thumbnail/Ben-Shahar_Y.jpg

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Research Image Description

Pseudocolored scanning electron micrograph (magnification ~34,000x) of the surface of mouse airway epithelia showing cilia protruding from epithelial cells; short protrusions in the foreground are microvilli from a nonciliated cell. In human airway epithelia, these motile cilia bear receptors that detect bitter compounds and signal the cilia to increase their rhythmic beat frequency to help clear noxious substances from the lungs. Image: Tom Moninger (epithelia generated by Phil Karp)

Research Image Url Research Images/Yehuda_Ben-Shahar_6149.gif

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Created at 11/10/2011 10:54 AM by DBBS_SP_SAPP
Last modified at 11/10/2011 12:48 PM by Kathryn Ruzicka