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 2018-2019


Wednesday 7 November

The seventh South West Fly meeting was held at University of Bristol on Wednesday 7 November 2018.

The first talk was on how cold-induced period transcription links environmental temperature to the Drosophila molecular clock and was by Dr Akanksha Dafna from Dr Herman Wijnen lab at the University of Southampton. She showed it was possible for flies to entrain their clocks to 2-3oC temperature cycles (TC) in constant darkness (DD). The period clock gene was found to be better at resetting than timeless. They then performed a RNA-seq screen to see which transcripts changed their expression in these flies and looked for which parts of the promoter region of the period gene driving luciferase expression were required to respond to temperature entrainment. Next, Dr Paul Hartley from University of Bournemouth gave an interesting talk on studying aspects of human cardio-renal physiology using Drosophila. He went through the development of the fly heart and its potential to model human cardiac function showing a beautiful video of the fly heart. He showed that the fly nephrocytes and cardiac cells interacted with each other and could rescue mutant defects in one another.

After tea, Dr Roberto Feuda from the University of Bristol spoke about a common neurogenic toolkit in Bilateria. He discussed how the the nervous system may have evolved comparing the expression of a network of neurogenetic regulatory genes expression patterns in the urchin, snail and Drosophila. He showed that 87% of neural genes in urchin were also in Drosophila, however there are only 6 neurons in urchins and 100,000 neurons in flies. Dr Benjamin Kottler from Dr Frank Hirth’s lab at KCL talked about the inverse control of turning behaviour by dopamine D1 receptor signalling in columnar-wedge and ring neurons of the central complex in Drosophila. He showed how video tracking using the DART system could be used to study motor action selection in Drosophila, this was shown to involve the central complex region of the brain, the FoxP gene and dopamine signalling.

As all days begin with circadian rhythms and end with sleep, likewise the meeting started with a talk on circadian rhythms and ended with one on sleep. Dr Alice French from Dr Georgio Gilestro’s lab at Imperial discussed stimulus valence and arousal from sleep. She showed that some odours are more arousing than others, and that this could be studied using the Ethoscope computer tracking system and delivery of different concentrations of vinegar odour during sleep and watching how arousing the odours were. She found that 5% acetic acid was attractive and 10% aversive, however starvation could make even 10% acetic acid attractive. She then dissected the neuroanatomy of how the odours interacted with sleep and how the flies could switch their valence. Discussion of all things fly continued over refreshments kindly provided by the Genetics Society and SLS and continued in the pub. The next meeting is on 30 January please contact or visit for more details.


Wednesday 30 January

Venue: Aim2A/B

1:30-2pm Lunch

2-2:30pm “” Dr Shreyasi Chatterjee (Dr. Amritpal Mudher's lab at the University of Southampton) 

 2:30-3pm Terrence (Dr Joaquín de Navascués lab, Cardiff University)

3-3:30pm Tea and Coffee

3:30-4pm Dr Benjamin Housden (University of Exeter)

4-4:30pm Charlie Hurdle (Dr Herman Wijnen lab, University of Southampton)

4:30-5pm Dr Giuliana Clemente (Dr Helen Weathers lab, University of Bristol)

Open discussion, pizza and drinks followed by Robin Hood pub


Wednesday 8 May

Venue: Aims 2A/B,

1:30-2pm Lunch

2-230pm “” Karolina J. Jaworek, Ph.D. Research Associate Wakefield Lab Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter

2:30-3pm “” Shamik DasGupta Oxford University Memory/sleep

3-330pm “” Dr Joaquín de Navascués (Cardiff University)

3:30-4pm Tea and Coffee

4-430pm Chris Baxter (Dr Benjamin Housden lab University of Exeter)

430-5pm “A structure-activity relationship of cryptochrome mediated magnetoreception” Dr Adam Bradlaugh (Prof Richard Baines)

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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