John Tuthill

Assistant Professor
Physiology & Biophysics
(206) 543-0986
Faculty Website

Research Interests

My lab studies neural mechanisms of somatosensory processing in the fruit fly, Drosophila. Like many animals, flies use touch and proprioception to make inferences about the external environment and to control motor behavior. The distinct advantage of the fly as a model system is the availability of cell-type specific genetic tools to label neurons for targeted recordings, permitting comprehensive mapping of each neuron’s synaptic connections, as well as its responses to sensory stimuli. We combine genetic tools with 2-photon imaging and whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology to study the function of somatosensory circuits in behaving flies. The goal of our research is to understand how somatosensory signals are detected by mechanoreceptor neurons, transformed in central circuits, and subsequently used to guide movement. By tracing the flow of neural information from sensory input to motor output, we hope to identify fundamental principles of sensory and motor physiology that have remained elusive in other systems.


Taking students: Yes
Available for Rotations: Autumn, Winter, Spring

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