Dr. Ralph J. Greenspan, Between Behavior and Neurobiology

ralph-greenspanDr. Ralph J. Greenspan began studying the genetic and neurological aspects of behavior in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) when he was a graduate student at Brandeis University. There, he worked with Jeffery Hall one of the field’s founders and has continued in this analysis of the genetic and neurobiological role in the fly’s innate and learned behaviors.

In his studies of fruit flies, he has determined that fruit flies have a sleep like state similar to the way mammals sleep. Watch this video as he explains what can be determined about the necessity and purpose of sleep.

Greenspan is determined in his continued study of the nervous system and its correlation with behavior, as he believes there may be a unifying principle for the operation of biological networks that applies to wide varieties of neurobiology, perhaps even that of humans.

Greenspan is now the associate director of the Kavli Institute for Mind and Brain at UC San Diego, where he was recently named founding director of the new Center for Brain Activity Mapping. The center, created as a direct response to President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, plans to map the brain down to the resolution level of single cells and the timescale of a millisecond.

The research done at the Center for Brain Activity Mapping will study disorders such as autism and alzheimer’s and will hopefully one day lead to treatments and cures.

Hear Greenspan discuss the latest work of the Center of Brain Activity Mapping at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, hosted by UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine. The conference will be held on October 2 through 4 at Scripps Seaside Forum and the Qualcomm Institute (formerly known as Calit2) in La Jolla, California. For more information on registration, visit atlanticmeetspacific.com.