May 15, 2010

What fruit flies can tell us about alcohol addiction: Ulrike Heberlein

In this week’s episode we talk to Dr. Ulrike Heberlein, a professor in the department of anatomy at UCSF and baseball aficionado. This year, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be awarded to an American scientist.

Dr. Heberlein is interested in the genes that underlie alcoholism and drug addiction and uses a seemingly unusual animal model to study it—the fruit fly. Using this model, her lab has identified a gene dubbed happyhour that, when mutated, can reduce an organism’s response to alcohol. She discusses how her lab uses the findings in the fly to guide further experiments in rodents and how these discoveries may soon lead to developing treatments for alcohol addicts.

More on the Heberlein Lab's research

Hosted by Sama Ahmed