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Associate Professor
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2000

Neural coding; learning and memory; sensory processing; Drosophila; electrophysiology

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Turner2013 What constitutes a memory?  When we learn an association, information from two different sensory streams is somehow bound together in the brain.  For example, the smell of spoiled milk vividly evokes the taste of an injudicious gulp.  How are odor and taste information represented in terms of neural spike trains, and how does learning modify those representations to form associative links between stimuli?

In my lab we address these questions by using a combination of electrophysiological, genetic, and computational approaches in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We directly monitor activity of neurons in the brain of an intact fly with whole cell patch clamp recordings. Using molecular genetic techniques we can manipulate neural activity to directly test our predictions about neural coding, both at the level of spike trains and behavior.

We focus on the representations of smell and taste. Drosophila learn to avoid a particular odor when that odor is presented in combination with a bitter taste. What changes in neural activity underlie this learning? What synapses change strength, and what ion channel properties change?

Our long-term goal is to understand how neuronal plasticity alters cellular and population level stimulus representations to link together information from different sensory modalities.


Please visit Glenn's Lab home page.


Selected Publications

Wu, C.L., Shih, M.F., Lai, S.Y., Yang, H.T., Turner, G.C., Chen, L., and Chiang, A.S. 2011. Heterotypic Gap Junctions between Two Neurons in the Drosophila Brain Are Critical for Memory, Curr. Biol. 21: 848­–854.

Turner, G.C., Bazhenov M., and Laurent G. 2008. Olfactory representations by Drosophila mushroom body neurons. J Neurophysiol. 99: 734-746.

Wilson, R.I., Turner, G.C., and Laurent, G. 2004. Transformation of olfactory representations in the Drosophila antennal lobe. Science 303: 366–370.

Perez-Orive, J., Mazor, O., Turner, G.C., Cassenaer, S., Wilson, R.I., and Laurent, G. 2002. Oscillations and sparsening of odor representations in the mushroom body. Science 297: 359–365.

Please visit Glenn's Lab home page.