UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology Hosting Winter Seminars

The winter seminars hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology are underway.

All seminars are on Mondays at 4:10 p.m. in Room 122 of Briggs Hall and also will be on Zoom. The Zoom link:

No seminar will take place on Monday, Jan. 15, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a university holiday.

On tap for Monday, Jan. 22 is William Ja, associate professor, Herbert Wertheim Scripps UF Institute for Biomedical Innovation and Technology in Jupiter, Florida.

He will present "Eat, Excrete, & Die: Regulation of Homeostatic Behaviors and Aging in Drosophila."

"The Ja lab uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model organism for uncovering the genetic and neuronal mechanisms that drive aging, behavior, and disease, Ja says in his abstract. "Recently developed tools allow us to track fly feeding behavior with unparalleled resolution. These tools facilitate the identification of genes and circuits that regulate food intake at diverse time scales, including studies of: 1) meal intake; 2) daily (circadian) feeding rhythms; and 3) compensatory feeding in response to high or low quality food. Our studies of feeding behavior and nutrition also inform aging interventions, including a novel caloric restriction paradigm and an intermittent fasting regime that extends fly life through the stimulation of circadian-regulated autophagy. Overall, our fly studies shed light on basic neurobiological principles that drive animal behavior, providing insights that potentially inform the development of conserved therapeutic strategies."

Ja received his chemistry degree at UC Berkeley, working with Richard Mathies and Alex Glazer on DNA sequencing technologies. He pursued doctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology with Rich Roberts, utilizing mRNA display technology to identify modulators of G protein signaling. Ja remained at Cal Tech as a postdoctoral scholar to work with Seymour Benzer on developing longevity ‘drugs' in Drosophila. His laboratory focuses on aging and nutrition, animal behavior, and host-microbiome interactions.

Upcoming seminars:

Monday, Jan. 29
Todd Johnson
Assistant professor of forest entomology, Louisiana State University
Title: "Characterizing Ecological Interactions of Arthropods in Forests under Global Change"

Monday, Feb. 5
Orie Shafer
Professor of biology and cognitive neuroscience, City University of New York
Title: "Circadian and Homeostatic Regulation of Fly Sleep"

Monday, Feb. 12 
Peter Piermarini 

Professor and associate chair of entomology, The Ohio State University, Wooster 
Title: "Discovery of Novel Chemical Tools for Controlling the Most Dangerous Animals on Earth"

Monday, Feb. 26
Dorith Rotenberg
Professor and director of graduate programs, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University
Title: "Advances and Innovations in the Characterization of Molecular Interactions Between Frankliniella occidentalis and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus."

Monday, March 4
Salil Bidaye
Research Group Leader, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Title: "
How Flies Control How They Walk by Knowing When and How to Stop"

Adler Dillman, professor of parasitology and nematology and chair of the Department of Nematollgoy, UC Riverside, launched the series on Jan. 8. (See Bug Squad blog)

Seminar coordinator is Brian Johnson, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. For Zoom technical issues, he may be reached at brnjohnson@ucdavis.edu. More information on the seminars is here.