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Andrew Dacks, PhD

Assistant Professor

Studying invertebrate neurobiology and neuroethology, specifically modulation of neural circuitry and effects on behavior.

Department

Biology; Centers for Neuroscience

Graduate Training

The University of Arizona, PhD Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Insect Science

Lab website: www.dacksneuroscience.com

Research Interests

Modulation of Olfactory Processing

Our physiological state has a powerful influence on nervous system function at all levels of processing. The time of day, feeding status and previous experience are all examples of physiological contexts that alter whether, and in what manner, animals respond to incoming information. One mechanism by which the nervous system alters its own activity to cope with changes in physiological context is via neuromodulation, the alteration of neuron response properties without directly inducing excitation or inhibition. By studying the physiological consequences of neuromodulation on olfactory processing in the antennal lobe (the first synapse of the insect olfactory system), my goal is to identify mechanisms implemented by the nervous system to account for physiological context.


Evolution of the Insect Brain

The explosion of insect diversity over evolutionary time has provided a laboratory in which natural selection has implemented manipulations for us. We can use comparative neuroanatomy to determine which traits represent principles of brain function and which traits represent adaptations necessary for survival in a specific environment or to take advantage of a particular resource. By comparing neuroanatomical features of the brain across insect taxa, my goal is to reveal traits that represent fundamental characteristics of the nervous system as well as adaptations that underlie the staggering behavioral complexity of insects.


Lab Personnel

Jing Wang

Jing Wang
Research Technician
2013 MSc Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering, Syracuse University
2009 BSc Biology, Wuhan University




Ayad Auda

Ayad Auda
Graduate Student
2010 BSc, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Aleppo




Kristyn Lizbinski

Kristyn Lizbinski
Graduate Student
2013 BS, Neuroscience and Philosophy, University of Scranton




Kaylynn Coates

Kaylynn Coates
Graduate Student
2012 BSc, Biology, Westminster College





Tyler Sizemore

Tyler Sizemore
Graduate Student
2014 BSc, Biology, West Virginia University





Cory Pittman

Cory Pittman
Undergraduate Researcher






Sarah Michaels

Sarah Michaels
Undergraduate Researcher





Cole Michael

Cole Michael
Undergraduate Researcher





Rachel Montgomery

Rachel Montgomery
Undergraduate Researcher





Former Lab Members
Sarah Freeman - Research Technician in lab of Dr. Sergyi Yakovenko at WVU
Aditya Kesari - Attending WVU
Lukas Meadows - Attending WVU Medical School
Jackie Metheny - Research Associate at Nationwide Children's Hospital
Stephen Sinclair - Attending WVU Medical School
Sidney Sisson - Attending WVU Medical School


Publications

  1. Lizbinski KL, Metheny JD, Bradley SP, Kesari A, Dacks AM. 2015. The anatomical basis for modulatory convergence in the antennal lobe of Manduca sexta. The Journal of Comparative Neurology. In Press.
  2. Ott B, Cruciger M, Dacks AM, Rio RV.  2014.  Hitchhiking of host biology by beneficial symbionts enhances transmission.  Scientific Reports. 4:5825. PMID:25059557
  3. Dacks AM, Reale V, Pi Y, Zhang W, Dacks JB, Nighorn AJ, Evans PD.  2013. A Characterization of the Manduca sexta Serotonin Receptors in the Context of Olfactory Neuromodulation.  PLoS One.  8(7): e69422. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069422.
  4. Dacks AM, Weiss KR. 2013.  Release of a single neurotransmitter from an identified interneuron coherently affects motor output on multiple timescales.  The Journal of Neurophysiology.  109:2327-2334.  (Cover Article)  PMID:23407357
  5. Dacks AM, Weiss KR. 2013.  Latent modulation: A basis for non-disruptive promotion of two incompatible behaviors by a single network state. The Journal of Neuroscience.  33:3786-3798.  PMID:23447591
  6. Dacks AM, Siniscalchi MJ, Weiss KR. 2012.  Removal of Default-State Associated Inhibition During Repetition Priming Improves Response Articulation.  The Journal of Neuroscience.  32:17740-17752.  PMID:23223294
  7. Dacks AM, Riffell JA, Martin JP, Gage SL, Nighorn AJ.  2012.  Olfactory modulation by dopamine in the context of aversive learning.  The Journal of Neurophysiology.  108(2):539-50.  (Cover Article)  PMID:22552185
  8. Martin JP, Beyerlein A, Dacks AM, Riffell JA, Lei H, Hildebrand JG.  2011.  The neurobiology of insect olfaction: sensory processing in a comparative context. Progress in Neurobiology.  95:427–447.  PMID:21963552
  9. Reisenman CE, Dacks AM, Hildebrand JG.  2011.  Local interneuron diversity in the primary olfactory center of the moth Manduca sexta.  The Journal of Comparative Physiology A.  197(6):653-65.  PMID:21286727
  10. Dacks AM, Nighorn AJ.  2011. The Organization of the Antennal Lobe Correlates Not Only with Phylogenetic Relationship, But Also Life History: A Basal Hymenopteran as Exemplar.  Chemical Senses.  36(2):209-20.  (Cover Article)  PMID:21059697
  11. Dacks AM, Reisenman CE, Paulk AC, Nighorn AJ.  2010. Histamine-Immunoreactive Local Neurons in the Antennal Lobes of the Hymenoptera.  The Journal of Comparative Neurology.  518:2917–2933.  PMID:20533353
  12. Dacks AM, Green DS, Root CM, Nighorn AJ, Wang JW.  2009.  Serotonin modulates olfactory processing in the antennal lobe of Drosophila.  The Journal of Neurogenetics. 23(4):366-77.  PMID:19863268
  13. Paulk A, Dacks AM, Phillips-Portillo J, Fellous J-M, Gronenberg W.  2009.  Visual processing in the central bee brain.  The Journal of Neuroscience.  29(32):9987–9999.  PMID:19675233
  14. Paulk A, Dacks AM, Gronenberg W.  2009.  Color processing in the medulla of the bumblebee (Apidae: Bombus impatiens).  Journal of Comparative Neurology.  513(5):441-56.  (Cover Article)  PMID:19226517
  15. Paulk A, Phillips-Portillo J, Dacks AM, Fellous J-M, Gronenberg W.  2008.  The processing of color, motion, and stimulus timing are anatomically segregated in the bumblebee brain.  The Journal of Neuroscience. 28(25):6319-32. PMID:18562602
  16. Dacks AM, Christensen TA, Hildebrand JG.  2008.  Modulation of Olfactory Processing in the Antennal Lobe of Manduca sexta by serotonin.  The Journal of Neurophysiology.  99(5):2077-85.  PMID:18322001
  17. Dacks AM, Dacks JB, Christensen TA, Nighorn AJ.  2006.  The cloning of one putative octopamine receptor and two putative serotonin receptors from the Tobacco hawkmoth, Manduca sexta.  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  36:741-747. PMID:16935223
  18. Dacks AM, Christensen TA, Hildebrand JG.  2006.  The Phylogeny of a Serotonin-Immunoreactive Neuron in the Primary Olfactory Center of the Insect Brain.  The Journal of Comparative Neurology.   498:727-746.  PMID:16927264
  19. Dacks AM, Christensen TA, Agricola H-J, Wollweber L, Hildebrand JG.  2005.  Octopamine-immunoreactive neurons in the brain and subesophageal ganglion of the hawkmoth Manduca sexta.  The Journal of Comparative Neurology.  488(3):255-269.  PMID:15952164
  20. Dacks AM, Nickel T, Mitchell, B.  2003.  An examination of serotonin and feeding in the flesh fly Neobellieria bullata (Sarcophagidae: Diptera)   The Journal of Insect Behavior.  16(1):1-21.