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The e-Science Institute Public Lecture - "Building a better (fly) brain"

Douglas Armstrong

Mental Health accounts for 11% of global disease burden, it is growing rapidly yet it is one of the most challenging areas for drug discovery and development. Realistic models that capture the processes (and disorders) of the human brain would provide new insights into the diagnosis and treatment of such disorders. However, to achieve this, we need to begin by working from much simpler, more tractable models. The brain of the fruit-fly Drosophila contains in the region of 100,000 neurons. Drosophila provide perhaps the simplest brain capable of what we would consider complex behaviour – much of which offers insight into animal and human cognition. The genome was sequenced in 2000 and efforts to improve the sequence and its functional annotation are highly integrated and span the entire community. Of the estimated 12,000 Drosophila genes, more than 2,000 are conserved in human disease indications and transgenic manipulation is rapid and advanced. This is a challenge that spans multiple levels of biology and informatics from behaviour and molecules to data integration and high performance computing.

Date and time: 
Friday, 2 November, 2007 - 16:00
60 minutes