We participated the UNC Science Expo for the first time with support of our NSF grant! Despite the unpredictable weather, we had a continuous flow of kids after kids who were eager to experience our human v.s. fly competition of odor discrimination and inspect some mutant flies. Our conclusion is kids (and some very competitive parents) are just as good as flies at sniffing out subtle differences of smells. It was exhausting, but we'll definitely come back next year!
The study previously published as the first preprint from our lab and the Aso lab is now published in eLife! In this work, we went beyond the simple associative learning and identified a key circuit that underlies second-order conditioning, which is a form of higher-order learning observed in many different vertebrate and invertebrate species. The paper reveals the importance of interconnections between dopaminergic systems for complex learning.