Welcome to our Virtual Lab Tour
We study the neural and molecular mechanisms of reward, memory and addiction using the fruit (or vinegar) fly, Drosophila melanogaster.
We are interested in understanding why memories for cues associated with the experience of being intoxicated are so long lasting. These memories can trigger cravings, which may elicit relapse to drug seeking and use. Thus, understanding the molecules required for formation and expression of these memories is key to finding more effective treatments for alcohol and substance use disorders.
Our lab is located on the 3rd floor of Sidney Frank Hall, 185 Meeting St., Providence, RI.
Molecular Bay #1
Look at all the stuff for analyzing genes and RNA!
Molecular Bay #2
Look at all the stuff for analyzing protein!
We have windows!
At the end of each bay are 4 desks and a window. We love natural light (as long as it's not in the behavior room)!
Fly Pushing Room
We have six CO2 stations with plenty of space for fly storage. The room is kept at 20C which necessitates sweaters.
Fly pushing stations
We have an additional two dissecting scopes that are fitted with cameras linked to ipads to help visualize complicated dissections.
We've turned this into a behavior, design & fabrication, and molecular bay. We have two FlyGrAM apparatuses, a soldering and building station, an imaging station and a molecular bench here.
We have four behavior boxes and a behavior fumehood in this room. Each behavior box is equipped with temperature, humidity and light controls. The behavior room currently holds two boxes for ethanol conditioning, one for sucrose conditioning, and one houses the automated Fly BEER assay.
Automated analysis of behavior
Two of our behavior chambers in the behavior room are set-up with apparatuses that allow automated analysis of behavior. This provides high content data and saves time!
The Behavioral Expression of Ethanol Reinforcement Runway (BEER Run) is an automated runway apparatus to measure how Drosophila respond to consecutive exposures of a volatilized substance.
Flies are trained for odor-ethanol or odor-sucrose memory in chambers that hold odors and alcohol vapor. Memory for odors is tested in a Y-maze or T-maze.
During a Y-maze test we stream odors through two arms of the Y, and flies climb from the bottom of the Y to make a choice between the two odors.
During a T-maze test a vacuum line is used to suck odors through through two arms of the T. Flies are placed in the center of the T and video tracked while making a choice between the two odors.
Ethanol conditioning chamber
Experiments are all done in a temperature and humidity controlled chamber under red light. Ethanol and odors are carefully controlled using flowmeters.
We LOVE looking at pretty fly brains! We have three high resolution imaging stations to process high content images of brains.
Two-photon microscope 1
Both of our 2P microscopes are housed in a room that is temperature, humidity and light controlled for careful behavior analysis. Moveable vacuum ports allow for rapid elimination of odors and ethanol.
Apparatus for in vivo imaging in beh
We view neural activity while we deliver volatilized substances to flies and track them as they walk on a ball.
Two-photon microscope 2
We have one Galvo and one Resonance two-photon microscope housed in the lab. Our laser is and Insight DeepSee broadly tunable laser that allows visualization of GCaMP and RCaMPs.