Pelin C. Volkan, Assistant Professor  

Pelin C. Volkan

The long-term goal in the lab is to understand the developmental processes that establish the basic organizational and functional principles of the neuronal circuits in the brain. We investigate how the neuronal circuits assemble, functionally mature, remodel in developmental and evolutionary time scales. To understand these processes the Volkan lab uses the olfactory system of the genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism and apply molecular, developmental and systems level approaches. Our research aims to answer three fundamental questions in developmental and evolutionary neurobiology using the Drosophila olfactory system: 1- What are the transcriptional and epigenetic networks that regulate cellular specification and diversity of olfactory receptor neurons? 2- How is sensory neuron function established during development and modulated with experience? 3- What are the molecular, developmental and functional changes underlying evolution of species-specific differences in odor-guided behaviors?

Education:
Postdoctoral Research, HHMI at UCLA, 2009
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003
M.S., Bogazici University (Turkey), 1997
B.S., Bogazici University (Turkey), 1995

Office Location: 139 Bio Sciences Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 684-1150
Email Address: pelin.volkan@duke.edu
Web Page: http://biology.duke.edu/volkanlab/volkan/Home.html
Additional Web Page: https://sites.duke.edu/volkanlab/

Specialties:
Developmental Biology
Genetics
Cell and Molecular Biology
Neuroscience

Research Categories: Genetic Regulation of Olfactory Circuit Assembly and Remodeling in Drosophila

Current projects: Specification and assembly of olfactory circuits, Evolution of olfactory circuits, Remodeling and regeneration of olfactory circuits

Research Description: The long-term goal in the lab is to understand the developmental processes that establish the basic organizational and functional principles of the neuronal circuits in the brain. We investigate how the neuronal circuits assemble, functionally mature, remodel in developmental and evolutionary time scales. To understand these processes the Volkan lab uses the olfactory system of the genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism and apply molecular, developmental and systems level approaches. A remarkable aspect of the olfactory circuit in both vertebrates and invertebrates is the extreme functional specialization of individual ORNs accompanied by a high level of diversity of the ORN classes that make up the entire olfactory system. Our research aims to answer three fundamental questions in developmental and evolutionary neurobiology using the Drosophila olfactory system: 1- What are the transcriptional and epigenetic networks that regulate cellular specification and diversity of olfactory receptor neurons? 2- How is sensory neuron function established during development and modulated with experience? 3- What are the molecular mechanisms of morphological and functional evolution of the olfactory circuits and do these underlie species-specific differences in odor-guided behaviors?

Recent Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Pan, JW; Li, Q; Barish, S; Okuwa, S; Zhao, S; Soeder, C; Kanke, M; Jones, CD; Volkan, PC, Patterns of transcriptional parallelism and variation in the developing olfactory system of Drosophila species., Scientific Reports, vol. 7 no. 1 (August, 2017), pp. 8804 [doi]  [abs].
  2. Hueston, CE; Olsen, D; Li, Q; Okuwa, S; Peng, B; Wu, J; Volkan, PC, Chromatin Modulatory Proteins and Olfactory Receptor Signaling in the Refinement and Maintenance of Fruitless Expression in Olfactory Receptor Neurons., PLoS biology, vol. 14 no. 4 (April, 2016), pp. e1002443 [doi]  [abs].
  3. Li, Q; Barish, S; Okuwa, S; Volkan, PC, Examination of Endogenous Rotund Expression and Function in Developing Drosophila Olfactory System Using CRISPR-Cas9 Mediated Protein Tagging (vol 5, pg 2809, 2015), G3 (Bethesda, Md.), vol. 6 no. 3 (March, 2016), pp. 771-771 .
  4. Li, Q; Barish, S; Okuwa, S; Maciejewski, A; Brandt, AT; Reinhold, D; Jones, CD; Volkan, PC, A Functionally Conserved Gene Regulatory Network Module Governing Olfactory Neuron Diversity., PLoS genetics, vol. 12 no. 1 (January, 2016), pp. e1005780 [doi]  [abs].
  5. Li, Q; Barish, S; Okuwa, S; Volkan, PC, Examination of Endogenous Rotund Expression and Function in Developing Drosophila Olfactory System Using CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Protein Tagging., G3 (Bethesda, Md.), vol. 5 no. 12 (October, 2015), pp. 2809-2816 [repository], [doi]  [abs].