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Research groups

Megan Neville

Departmental Lecturer

  • Senior Postdoctoral Research Assistant


I initially trained as a yeast geneticist, first in the laboratory of Professor Manuel Ares at the University of California Santa Cruz, where I became interested in the biology of mRNA regulation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  I pursued my interest in yeast genetics and cell biology during my PhD with Professor Michael Rosbash at Brandeis University. My PhD thesis involved the characterization of the nuclear export signal-mediated transport pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After my PhD, I moved to Glasgow, Scotland and decided to pursue a long time interest in Drosophila genetics.  Since joining the Goodwin lab (both in Glasgow and after our move to Oxford in 2009),  I have been studying the molecular role the male-specific transcription factor Fruitless plays in establishing sex-specific behaviours.

Research Summary

Innate and species-specific behaviours depend on complex genetic networks that act during development to generate ordered neuronal circuitry. Male courtship behaviour in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is regulated by the gene fruitless (fru), and is an ideal system for studying the connection between genes and behaviour.  Fru proteins are BTB-Zn-finger transcription factors, found exclusively in the male nervous system. By studying how Fru orchestrates the developmental decisions that generate a sexually dimorphic nervous system, we can understand how it ultimately influences male-specific behaviours. I study the molecular basis underlying fru’s role in defining the neuronal circuits underlying male sexual behaviour.