One of the ultimate goals of my investigations is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying adaptive behavior in diverse insects. I work at the level of sensory signals, single neurons at different stages of the sensory pathway, networks of neurons, and behavior. I’ve studied visual and olfactory senses in different insects and their integration and mechanisms of sensory adaptation. I use neurophysiological, morphological, behavioral and chemical ecology techniques in a naturalistic framework. About six years ago I resumed studies in insects which are vectors of human diseases. These studies not only focused on adaptive behaviors and the underlying neural mechanisms, but they also explored basic vector biology issues.

Since recently joining the laboratory of Dr. Kristin Scott at UC Berkeley as an Associate Researcher, my research interests expanded to include the neural mechanisms regulating feeding behavior in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. This superb model organism offers a unique opportunity for such studies, given the fly’s amenability for experimentation and genetic manipulation of identified neuronal cells and neurons.

Selected recent publications

Reisenman CE and Riffell JA (2015). The neural bases of host plant selection in a Neuroecology framework. Frontiers in Physiology 6:229.

Reisenman CE (2014). Hunger is the best spice: effects of starvation and time of the day in the antennal responses of the blood-sucking bug Rhodnius prolixus. Journal of Insect Physiology 71: 8-13.

Heinbockel T, Shields V, Reisenman CE (2013). Signaling mechanisms and glomerular interactions in olfactory processing channels of the antennal lobes. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 199: 929-946.

Reisenman CE, Lee Y, Gregory T, Guerenstein PG (2013). Effects of starvation on the olfactory responses of the blood-sucking bug Rhodnius prolixus. Journal of Insect Physiology 59: 717-721.

Reisenman CE, Riffell JA, Duffy K, Pesque A, Mikles D, Goodwin B (2013). Species-specific effects of herbivory on the oviposition behavior of the moth Manduca sexta. Journal of Chemical Ecology 39: 76-89.

Reisenman CE, Gregory TL, Savary W, Cowles J, Hildebrand JG (2012). Distribution and abundance of triatomine insects in a metropolitan area in southern Arizona, USA. Journal of Medical Entomology 49: 1254-1261.

Lei H, Reisenman CE, Wilson C, Gabbur P, Hildebrand JG (2011). Spike patterns and their functional implications in the antennal lobe of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23382.

Reisenman CE, Gregory T, Guerenstein PG, Hildebrand JG (2011). Feeding and defecation behavior of Triatoma rubida (Uhler, 1894) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) under laboratory conditions, and its potential role as vector of Chagas disease in Arizona, USA. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene 85: 648-656.

Reisenman CE, Dacks A, Hildebrand JG (2011). Local interneuron diversity in the primary olfactory center of the moth Manduca sexta. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 197: 653-665.