José Duhart, Ph.D.


José Duhart, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow
Department of Neuroscience
Thomas Jefferson University
233 S. 10th St.
BLSB, Room 219B
City, State, ZIP
Philadelphia, PA 17042
[email protected]
Research field
Award year
Country of origin
Mentor name
Kyunghee Koh, Ph.D.

In the Koh lab, I will explore how animals balance their drive to reproduce with their need to sleep. Sleep is essential for the health of all animals, including humans. The more time we spend awake, the more we feel the urge to slumber. However, we can override this desire for sleep when we have other pressing tasks to accomplish—taking care of a baby or finishing a project, for example. Fruit flies often postpone sleep to attend to their reproductive needs. Males will suppress sleep when presented with a courtship opportunity, and females stay awake after mating to make time to lay their eggs. Through a screen for neuronal populations regulating sleep, the Koh lab has identified a set of previously uncharacterized neurons that is involved in mediating sleep. Using an array of state-of-the-art molecular tools for manipulating and analyzing the activities of neurons and neuronal circuits, I will determine how the brain regions that control reproductive behaviors in both males and females regulate these newly identified neurons, and pinpoint how these neurons affect flies’ behavior, allowing them to balance reproduction and sleep. The work will advance our understanding of how organisms weigh conflicting desires and select the appropriate behavior, and it could lead to novel strategies for treating disorders that impair sleep.

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