South West Fly meetings

The South West Fly Meeting is a Genetics Society national Special Interest Group run by Dr James Hodge at the Biomedical Sciences Building, University of Bristol.  These meetings are for all people interested in Drosophila research but who may be due to geographical, time and financial constraints cannot attend the London Fly Meetings. The meetings are regular, informal and consist of research focused seminars given by the scientists who conducted the research, therefore early career scientists are encouraged to present as well as a 50:50 gender split of speakers. Between talks we break for refreshments that allow open discussion of the research presented as well as the sharing of fly stocks, reagents, techniques and best practice. This policy of sharing is further facilitated by an email list of over thirty attending Drosophila research groups. We are always encouraging new members to join us, and the Genetics Society, especially those new to Drosophila research, who maybe want to start a fly collaboration or perform their first fly experiment. Therefore this group promotes the mandate of the National Centre for Reduction, Refinement and Replacement of protected animals in research. We aim to facilitate future collaborations, grant applications, teaching and public engagement opportunities involving Drosophila thereby promoting cutting edge genetics and model organism research in this country. 

Who should attend?

A regular, informal and research focused seminar series allows early career and independent researchers alike to share their research, fly stocks, reagents and techniques.

Find out what happened at the latest meetings here.

South West Fly Meeting Schedule 2017 - 2018


Wednesday 4 April

The fifth South West Fly Meeting was held at the Biomedical Sciences Building, University of Bristol on Wednesday 4 April. Katarzyna Sierzputowska from Drs Benjamin Housden and James Wakefield labs at University of Exeter spoke about an integrated analysis of the protein-protein interaction network of the conserved mitotic kinase, Polo. Using a combination of a high throughput luciferase plate assay screen and embryo GFP imaging, she went through her data so far and her proposed PhD screen and validation. From first year PhD to Professor, Prof Herman Wijnen from University of Southampton gave a talk about the conserved small GTPase Rho1 couples molecular clock circuits to daily sleep/wake behaviour. Again, using a trusty Drosophila screen of the DrosDEL collection for circadian rhythm mutants, his group identified Rho-1 mutant. Rho-RNAi expression in clock neurons caused loss of rhythms in continuous darkness and a collapse of the expanded clock neuron terminal day time phenotype. After tea, Dr Lori Borgal again from Prof James Wakefield lab at University of Exeter, gave a talk entitled “PP2A-B’ regulation of Asp influences stem cell specific spindle pole focusing”. Lori’s talk explored the relationship between phosphatases and kinases in mitosis again taking advantage of GFP live imaging and genetic tractability of the fly. Dr Marc Amoyel (University of Bristol) presented his recent work studying the interaction between cell cycle regulators and stem cell fate. Surprisingly, he finds that factors that control proliferation in stem cells are also required to maintain the stem cells' niche. Lastly, Dr James Hodge from University of Bristol spoke about his labs work on Drosophila models of Alzheimer disease (AD). Based on a recent Epigenome Wide Association Study for AD, they took the top hit which was in the ankyrin gene and made a Drosophila model. These flies like those that overexpress human amyloid b or microtubule associated protein, tau, cause shortened lifespan, locomotor deficits and short-term memory loss. After the talks, there was refreshments kindly provided by the Genetics Society and SLS, and Drosophila researchers continued to discuss their results, planned experiments and role of the fly in science and beyond. If you are interested in attending or presenting at this meeting please contact

Wednesday 14 June

Venue: Aims 2A/B,

1:30-2pm Lunch

2-2:30pm "Functions of conserved Alzheimer's Disease risk genes in the Drosophila nervous system” Dr Owen Peters, (Dr Owen Peters lab) (Cardiff University)

2:30-3pm “Genetics of Axonal Mitochondrial Biology” Dr Gaynor Smith (Dr Gaynor Smith lab) (Cardiff University)

3-3:30pm “Non-canonical nucleosome positioning in Drosophila testis” Dr Katia Jindrich (Prof Helen White-Cooper lab Cardiff University)

3:30-4pm Tea and Coffee

4-4:30pm "Using Drosophila to determine the effect of ageing on circadian rhythms and sleep" Jack Curran (Dr James Hodge lab) (University of Bristol)

4:30-5pm “Identifying drug targets for human disease using novel approaches to synthetic lethal screens in Drosophila cells” Dr Benjamin Housden (University of Exeter)

5-530pm “The tau of memory and sleep” James Higham (Dr James Hodge lab) (University of Bristol)

Open discussion, pizza and drinks followed by Robin Hood pub


Please email if you would like to join the South West Fly meeting group and if you would like to speak at the meeting.

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