Rachel Wilson is an HHMI Early Career Scientist at Harvard Medical School. Rachel Wilson is using Drosophila to study how neural circuits transform sensory signals, with a special emphasis on the olfactory system.
Insects, Rachel Wilson says, may be closer cousins than we imagine, at least in terms of their brain power. “Of course they’re not terribly smart. But unlike simpler invertebrates like slugs or worms, the way they interact with the world is relatively flexible. They can play a lot of games with only about a hundred thousand brain cells.” This balance between simplicity and complexity is what attracted Wilson to studying the fruit fly Drosophila as a model for investigating neural circuit function.