Science Café Cleveland presents


"Science on the fly: Learning about human biology from the fruit fly"


FEBRUARY 13, 2012




Helen Salz, PhD

(Professor, Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University)




Remember those fruit fly experiments in high school biology? Fruit flies, or Drosophila melanogaster, moved into the public eye once again with the awarding of the 2011 Noble Prize in Medicine for their role in revolutionizing our understanding of the immune system. This was not the first Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to the fruit fly researcher, and it is unlikely to be the last. Today thousands of researchers worldwide use fruit flies to learn about genetics, metabolism, physiology, and behavior. Why fruit flies? Flies and humans share many of the same genes; therefore what we learn about fruit flies applies to humans.


Moreover, researchers can do things to fruit flies that are unacceptable on humans, such as genetic manipulation to introduce disease. As a result most of what we know about the molecular basis of human biology and disease comes from studies of model organisms such as the fly.


Professor Salz's research focuses on the gene regulatory network that controls sex determination—the choice between male and female development.


She is a member of the Department of Genetics where she teaches and leads a research program that uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to study the genetic basis of development. Prior to joining the faculty at CWRU in 1987, Helen did postdoctoral work at Princeton University. She received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego and completed her Ph.D. in Genetics at the University of California, Davis.




WHERE: The Market Garden Brewery

(Located at 1947 West 25th Street next to the West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio)


WHEN: February 13, 2012

Drinks at 6:30 pm, discussion starts around 7:00 pm


WHO: Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN

ideastream, and the Market Garden Brewery


click here to download a pdf flyer of the event