A side by side of headshots for Prof. Fernandez and Prof. Lopatkin


On June 21, 2022, assistant professor of neuroscience María de la Paz Fernández and assistant professor of biological sciences Allison Lopatkin published a study titled “PHASE: An Open-Source Program for the Analysis of Drosophila Phase, Activity, and Sleep Under Entrainment” in the Journal of Biological Rhythms, which explores the synchronization or alignment of the internal biological clock rhythm (entrainment) in a species of fruit flies called Drosophila while outlining their new method for objectively identifying phases of peaks in fly activity/sleep. 

By developing PHASE, a MATLAB-based program that is simple and easy to use, Professors Fernández and Lopatkin have solved a problem central to circadian biology – namely that in the study of Drosophila chronobiology estimations of phases are often subjective, and anticipation indicators vary significantly. Their breakthrough study will enable more accurate investigations into the molecular and neural underpinnings of entrainment.