Neuroscience Graduate Program

Anupama A. Dahanukar

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Office: (951) 827-5742
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Anupama A. Dahanukar

Duke University, Ph.D., Genetics


We are interested in how chemicals in the environment are detected by insect sensory neurons and how this information is processed to specify distinct behaviors. We focus on the gustatory system of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which has a remarkable repertoire of physiological and behavioral responses to contact stimuli present in sources such as food substrates as well as con-specific individuals. Assessment of taste chemicals is crucial for the fruit fly and other insects to make behavioral decisions in the context of acquiring nutrition, courting individuals and selecting sites to lay eggs. We use a combination of molecular, genetic, electrophysiological, behavioral and imaging techniques to investigate the peripheral and central mechanisms that guide contact chemosensory behaviors of Drosophila and other insects. We expect to employ some of the principles that emerge from our studies to develop novel strategies for control of agricultural pests.


  • Dahanukar, A., Lei, Y-T., Kwon, J.Y. and Carlson, J.R. (2007) Two Gr genes underlie sugar reception in Drosophila. Neuron 56:503-516.
  • Kwon, J.Y., Dahanukar, A., Weiss, L.A. and Carlson, J.R. (2007) The molecular basis of CO2 reception in Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:3574-3578.
  • Hallem, E.A., Dahanukar, A. and Carlson, J.R. (2006) Insect odor and taste receptors. Ann Rev Entomol 51:113-135.
  • Dahanukar, A., Hallem, E.A. and Carlson J.R. (2005) Insect chemoreception. Curr Opin Neurobiol 15:423-430.
  • Perry, J., Dahanukar, A. and Carlson, J.R. (2004) Analysis of taste receptors in Drosophila. In “New Frontiers in Insect Neuroscience,” Thomas A. Christensen (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Chyb, S., Dahanukar, A., Wickens, A. and Carlson, J.R. (2003) Drosophila Gr5a encodes a taste receptor tuned to trehalose. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100(2): 14526-14530.
  • Dahanukar, A., Foster, K., van der Goes van Naters, W. and Carlson, J.R. (2001) A Gr receptor is required for response to the sugar trehalose in taste neurons in Drosophila. Nature Neurosci 4:1182-1186.

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