Department of Zoology

Joyce J. Fernandes
Professor (on leave)
Ph.D. University of Bombay, 1994
developmental neurobiology, neuromuscular development
250 PSN

241L PSN



Home Page:
Click Here
Office Hours:
  Monday . . . . on leave
  Tuesday . . . . on leave
  Wednesday . . on leave
  Thursday. . . . on leave
  Friday. . . . . . on leave

Biographical Information:

CELL-CELL INTERACTIONS DURING DEVELOPMENT OF THE ADULT MOTOR SYSTEM IN DROSOPHILA Nervous systems of organisms are initially formed in the embryo and are constantly restructured during the life span of the animal to accommodate stage specific changes associated with events such as post-natal development, puberty, injury and aging.

To better understand the cell, molecular and genetic mechanisms that govern neuronal plasticity, I study development of the adult motor system in a genetic model organism, Drosophila, which is formed during the period of metamorphosis. Tissues such as the musculature are histolysed to make way for a new set of muscles, whereas in case of the nervous system, a significant restructuring occurs  which includes neuronal death, neurogenesis and remodeling of persistent neurons. These events collectively result in the generation of adult specific neural circuits, which are important for executing a new set of adult behaviors, both motor (flight, walking, eclosion) and sensory (vision, smell). Remodeling of motor systems is particularly intriguing because the development of two distinct tissues has to be co-ordinated: muscles and the nervous system.  The remodeling of insect motor systems is under hormonal control   and is also regulated by reciprocal interactions between neurons and muscle. Both these aspects are absent from the heavily studied embryonic/larval motor system, presenting unique developmental scenarios. My research program focuses on better understanding cell-cell interactions that pattern the adult motor system. Our studies include 3 major areas: (1) Motor neuron influences on myoblast proliferation and fiber formation. (2) The role of neuronal identity genes in generation of adult specific motor circuits. (3) Neuron-glia interactions during reorganization of the motor system.

Courses Taught:

  1. Patterns in Development (ZOO 202)
  2. Graduate Seminar (ZOO 710)

Recent Publications:

  1. Hebbar S and Fernandes, JJ. (2010) “Glial remodeling during metamorphosis influences the stabilization of motor neuron branches in Drosophila”. Developmental Biology 340:344-54. Cover credit

  2. Atreya KB, Fernandes JJ. (2008) “Founder cells regulate fiber number but not fiber formation during adult myogenesis in Drosophila”. Developmental Biology. 321:123-40.

  3. Hebbar S, Hall RE, Demski S, Subramanian, A and Fernandes JJ. (2006). “The adult abdominal neuromuscular junction: a model for synaptic plasticity”. Journal of Neurobiology In Press

  4. Fernandes JJ, Atreya KB, Desai KM, Hall RE, Patel MD, Desai AA, Mable JL, Benham AE, Straessle, JL (2005) “Rac is involved in myoblast fusion as well as proliferation during adult myogenesis in Drosophila”. Developmental Biology 285(1):11-27.

  5. Hebbar S and Fernandes JJ (2005). “A role for FasII in regulating the DLM innervation pattern” Developmental Biology, 285(1):185-99.