Dr Wynand Van der Goes van Naters
Telephone:+44(0)29 208 74127
Location:Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Figure 1. Male fruit fly Drosophila approaching a female: what does it sense? Some pheromones may be present in the hydrocarbon layer on the surface of the insects. See Van der Goes van Naters WM & Carlson JR (2007) Current Biology 17: 606-612. Image from doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.04.011
We are interested in the molecular basis of smell and taste in insects. Smell and taste provide fundamental questions in biology –in the molecular neurobiology of behaviour, in development, in learning and memory, in chemical ecology and in evolution. Insects often locate and select the hosts from which they feed, and find sites for laying eggs, by chemical cues. Smell and taste also play important roles in mate choice (Figure 1) and other social interactions. Insects include some of the most serious vectors of disease, and cause enormous losses in agriculture. New methods for insect control may come from a molecular understanding of the senses of smell and taste. For an overview see Van der Goes van Naters WM & Carlson JR (2006) Nature 444: 302-307.
A second research direction is the function of P2X receptors in model invertebrates.