Florida State University

Accepting new graduate students.

Dr. Liz Brown

Assistant Professor of Biological Science and Neuroscience
Biological Science
KIN 3062


Sleep, feeding, chemosensory function, aging, neurodegenerative disease.
Current Research
Animals, from flies to humans, need to sleep and eat, and being able to do so is critical for survival. We are interested in understanding the genetic and neural mechanisms that regulate these behaviors, and how they may change across the lifespan and in models of neurodegenerative disease. We utilize the fly genetic model to investigate the mechanisms by which diet regulates sleep quality. We have shown that the composition of macronutrients in food affects sleep duration, sleep depth, and metabolic rate. We are now investigating how this occurs and whether there are consequences to insufficient deep sleep. Our second line of research in the lab investigates how dietary macronutrients are perceived by the taste system. We have shown that flies sense fatty acids through the same neurons that detect sugars. We are investigating how they are able to discriminate between these different taste modalities. Deficits in both sleep and chemosensory processing occur during normal aging, as well as several neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). In parallel, we are investigating how these behaviors are modified by aging and in a fly model of AD. We use multiple approaches, including genetic screening, behavioral analysis, molecular-genetics, and brain imaging techniques with the goal of uncovering fundamental principles that regulate behavior.
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