Mentor: Vanessa Ruta, PhD
A male fruit fly performs a rich courtship display to attract females of the same species. He’ll chase a female, tap her abdomen, and vibrate his wings to produce a courtship song. Adriane Otopalik wants to know how the male fly brain has evolved to generate distinct courtship sequences across species. Using tiny electrodes, they'll tune in to conversations between neurons as male flies court potential mates. Otopalik hopes to tease out the neural mechanisms underlying behavioral variation between species.