New Research Partners
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded a Partners in Science grant to Assistant Professor of Biology Norma Velazquez-Ulloa and David Valenzuela of Madison High School. The Partners in Science program is designed to help high school science teachers work with a university faculty mentor doing cutting-edge research. Over the next two summers, Dr. Velazquez-Ulloa and Mr. Valenzuela’s collaborative project, “Effect of nicotine exposure on perception: olfaction and taste behaviors and neural circuits in Drosophila melanogaster”, will investigate long-term nicotine exposure in the common fruit fly. Mr. Valenzuela will join Dr. Velazquez-Ulloa’s laboratory team at Lewis & Clark to 1) develop assays to measure different behaviors of flies that have been exposed to nicotine over the long-term, and 2) determine the effects of the drug exposure on neural circuits underlying the flies’ smell and taste perception. This research will contribute to a greater understanding about the effects of drugs, more specifically about what impact long-term exposure to nicotine has on the circuits in the brain mediating perception.