Columbia University in the City of New York

Oct 19, 20211:00 pm

The Biology of Color Light Preference: Updates from Drosophila

Featuring Sheyum Syed, PhD, Associate Professor, Physics, University of Miami

October 19th, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

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Research into why and what colors animals prefer has been ongoing for more than two centuries.

Early human studies treated the subject as one of psychological aesthetics, using experimental tools from psychophysics to gain an understanding of color preference. While these studies have provided plausible psychological explanations for observed preferences and variances, they are unable to delineate the underlying biological principles. Work with small animal models, such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, can more easily access the biology of color preference. Fly experiments starting in the 1970s have informed much of what we know about regulatory mechanisms that underpin color vision and color preference. To better understand results from the ’70s, we constructed a new paradigm for testing fly color preference and uncovered previously unappreciated aspects at both behavioral and regulatory levels. At the behavioral level, we find that fruit fly preference for color light is not static but rather changes with the time of day in a cyclic manner. At the regulatory level, we find that the complex behavioral outputs are orchestrated by multiple pathways operating independently. In this talk, I will present results from our recent work on fly color preference.      

Those wishing to meet the speaker should contact Samantha Tener in the Shirasu-Hiza Lab.   

The Columbia Neuroscience Seminar series is a collaborative effort of Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and with support from the Kavli Institute for Brain Science.

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