Fly “Fight Club”: Impacts of Sleep Deprivation on Aggression in Drosophila

Fly "Fight Club": Impacts of Sleep Deprivation on Aggression in Drosophila

Student: 
Yoni Levenson '14
Sponsor: 
Dr. Amita Sehgal
Department: 
Neuroscience
School: 
Medicine

My research focuses on the effects of sleep deprivation and diurnal shifts on aggression in Drosophila. Flies were either mechanically deprived of sleep or fought at different subjective times throughout the day, and then aggression was assayed in a fighting arena. Our findings indicate that acute sleep deprivation suppresses aggressive behaviors and suggest that aggression functions independent of the circadian clock. The picture above shows a fly brain (magenta) with specific neurons and aggression circuitry (green) activated following a fight. Future studies will examine the direct neural mechanisms through which sleep deprivation and diurnal shifts modulate aggression.