Speaker: Professor Barry Dickson
Queensland Brain Institute
University of Queensland

Title: 'Stories about sex'

Mating is one of the strongest instincts in most animal species. For the past 20 years we’ve been trying to figure out what is going on in the brain of the fruit fly Drosophila as it seeks to fulfil this basic urge. We’ve identified sex-specific neurons in the male and female brains that encode their respective states of sexual arousal and traced out the sensory pathways that induce these states. Once aroused, certain sensorimotor pathways are activated to choreograph the song-and-dance routine that the pair perform as a prelude to copulation. In the next phase of this research, we will shift our attention from how flies mate to whom they choose to mate with.


I may also talk about walking. Flies are lauded for their impressive ability to fly. But is flying really so difficult when you only weigh 200ug and all you need to do is flap two wings around their single joint and note which way the wind is blowing? Walking is much more demanding. Especially when you have 18 joints across 6 legs to coordinate while navigating a variable and unpredictable terrain. Flies spend most of their time doing this, and they do it with ease. They really should be called “walks”. We want to know how they do it.



About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium on Level 7 are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018