Assistant Professor of Biology

(919) 684-1150

The long-term goal in the lab is to understand the developmental processes that establish the basic organizational and functional principles of the neuronal circuits in the brain. We investigate how the neuronal circuits assemble, functionally mature, remodel in developmental and evolutionary time scales. To understand these processes the Volkan lab uses the olfactory system of the genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism and apply molecular, developmental and systems level approaches. Our research aims to answer three fundamental questions in developmental and evolutionary neurobiology using the Drosophila olfactory system: 1- What are the transcriptional and epigenetic networks that regulate cellular specification and diversity of olfactory receptor neurons? 2- How is sensory neuron function established during development and modulated with experience? 3- What are the molecular, developmental and functional changes underlying evolution of species-specific differences in odor-guided behaviors?