Northwestern University

Tue 3:30 PM

Flies and Alcohol: Interplay of Nature and Nurture - Ulrike Heberlein, PhD

When: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Michelle Mohney   312.503.5600

Group: Center for Genetic Medicine

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info


The Center for Genetic Medicine of Northwestern University welcomes you to attend the Richard A. Scott, MD Lecture on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, featuring Ulrike Heberlein, PhD, Scientific Program Director and Laboratory Head, Director of Graduate Program, HHMI | Janelia Research Campus.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are major problems in medicine and society, and treatment strategies have so far met with limited success. It is well established that genetic and environmental factors contribute to an increased risk for alcoholism. To identify genes and neural mechanisms that may play a role in alcoholism, we developed the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster ­– with its accessibility to genetic, molecular and behavioral analyses ­– as a model system for ethanol phenotypes. Several assays to study ethanol-related behaviors in flies – ranging from acute intoxication, tolerance development, self-administration, and reward ­– have been developed in the past 20 years. Genetic screens have identified a large number of genes that affect the flies’ behavior, many of which have been validated in mammalian models of alcoholism. More recently, our focus has shifted to study the mechanisms by which social experiences and stress affect alcohol behaviors.

Ulrike Heberlein, PhD is a Senior Fellow and Laboratory Head at the Janelia Research Campus of HHMI. She was previously a professor at the University of California at San Francisco for 15 years. She started her independent academic career at the Gallo Center in San Francisco, where she pioneered the use of Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to decipher the molecular, neural and behavioral mechanisms underlying drug addiction. More recently, her laboratory’s focus has shifted toward understanding the mechanisms by which environmental and experiential factors modulate a drug-related behaviors and reward circuits.

Heberlein received her MS in biochemistry from the Universidad de Concepcion in her native Chile. She continued her education in the United States, receiving her PhD in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Heberlein stayed in Berkeley to carry out postdoctoral work in developmental genetics.

The Scott Lecture Series is co-sponsored by Northwestern University's Driskill Graduate Program (DGP) in Life Sciences, part of the Lectures in Life Sciences series.

The Scott Lecture Series was created as an educational platform to appeal to the medical community of Northwestern University. It is funded under the generous bequest of alum Richard A. Scott, MD. After Dr. Scott passed away, his wife and family established the lecture series in honor of Dr. Scott’s lifelong interest in research and learning.

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