The sense of taste guides animals to consume nutritive foods while avoiding potentially harmful compounds. A crucial feature of the taste system is that different tastes elicit distinctive innate reactions, such as strong attraction to sweets or wincing and gagging on things that are bitter. How are these reactions brought about by the brain? In the Zuker lab, I will study how a part of the brain called the amygdala weighs in on whether we find foods appealing or not. I will identify neurons in the amygdala that respond to sweet and bitter, determine whether activation of these neurons trigger predetermined behaviors—such as attraction or aversion—and assess whether animals can still react to sweet or bitter when these neurons are prevented from signaling. My work will help map out brain circuits that drive innate responses to different tastes and may provide a model to understand how the brain mediates behavior in response to attractive and aversive stimuli.