Anne Simon, PhD
Genetics of Social Behavior
519 661-2111 x 80084
I deeply enjoy sharing my fascination for the complexity of the biological world with students of all levels. I also think that teaching happens beyond the classroom, and in parallel to teaching in the classroom, I have been continuously mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in my research projects. We currently focus on the analysis of complex behavior in the fruit fly relevant to neuropsychiatric illnesses. Inappropriate response to others is a shared deficit in many mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Arguably, the power of Drosophila has been underused to answer these questions, in part because of a lack of proper behavioral paradigms. The paradigms that we have developed help fill that need: measure of social space (space "bubble") and avoidance of other stressed individuals. My objective is to quantify sociability among fruit flies. Specifically, I am pursuing several directions:
1/ The identification of the neuro-anatomical circuitry responsible for the observed phenotypes through the manipulation of neuron functions
2/ Testing candidate pathways involved in other types of social behavior and candidate for schizophrenia or autism, and studying their potential interactions
3/ Using forward genetic approaches that cannot be applied to most model systems to identify new genes required for social recognition
The results of these studies will allow us to identify new genes required for social response and to map the neuronal circuitry of social behavior in flies. We hypothesize that some of the genes and cellular mechanisms involved in tuning a complex nervous system to recognize a similar animal may be conserved.
Degrees and Institutions
- Ph.D., Molecular and Cellular Genetics, University of Paris XI, FRANCE
- M.S., Molecular and Genetic Biology, University of Paris XI, FRANCE
- B.S., Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Paris XI, FRANCE
- Assistant Professor CUNY/York College, Biology Department, Jamaica, NY
- Assistant Research Geneticist UCLA, Brain Research Institute
- Research Scientist Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- Postdoctoral researcher California Institute of Technology
- Biology 3316A - Advanced Cell Biology
- Biology 3597B - Regulation of Gene Expression
- Biology 3598B - Behavioral Genetics
- Biology 4943 - Seminars in Genetics
- Fernandez RW, Nurilov M, Feliciano O, McDonald IS and Simon AF (2014). Straightforward Assay for Quantification of Social Avoidance in Drosophila melanogaster. JoVe, Issue 94; doi: 10.3791/52011
- Simon AF, Salazar E, Chou M-T, Nicholson T, Saini N, Metchev S and Krantz DE (2012). A simple assay to study social behavior in Drosophila: measurement of social space within a group. Genes Brain and Behavior, 11, 243-252.
- Lawal HO, Chang H-Y, Terrell AN, Brooks ES, Pulido D, Simon AF, and Krantz DE (2010). The Drosophila vesicular monoamine transporter reduces pesticide-induced loss of dopaminergic neurons. Neurobiology of Disease, 40(1):102-112.
- Simon AF, Daniels R, Romero-Calderón R, Grygoruk A, Chang H-Y, Rod Najibi, Shamouelian D, Salazar E, Solomon M, Larry C. Ackerson LC, Maidment NT, DiAntonio A and Krantz DE. (2009)Drosophila vesicular monoamine transporter mutants can adapt to reduced or eliminated vesicular stores of dopamine and serotonin. Genetics, 181(2):525-41.
- Romero-Calderón R, Uhlenbrock G, Borycz J, Simon AF, Grygoruk A, Yee SK, Shyer A, Ackerson LC, Maidment NT, Meinertzhagen IA, Hovemann BT, Krantz DE (2008). A Glial Variant of the Vesicular Monoamine Transporter Is Required To Store Histamine in the Drosophila Visual System. PLoS Genetics, 4(11): e1000245.