Prober Lab | California Institute of Technology

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A larval zebrafish hypocretin-EGFP transgene (green) specifically labels hypocretin neurons (red) and projects to the locus coeruleus (red).

We are interested in genetic and neural mechanisms that regulate sleep.

We use zebrafish to identify genes, neurons and small molecules that regulate sleep. We also exploit the transparency of zebrafish larvae to monitor and manipulate neural circuits that regulate sleep and wakefulness.

Larval zebrafish hypocretin neurons expressing Brainbow labels each neuron with a different color.

April 29, 2016 - Read David's Rita Allen Foundation Scholar profile.

February 19, 2016 - Listen to David discuss the sleep screen paper on the BBC World Service.


February 17, 2016 - Our paper describing the first large-scale screen for genes that affect vertebrate sleep is online at Neuron. See also the Video Abstract, Neuron press release and Cell Press podcast.

February 10, 2016 - Our paper showing that QRFP and its receptors regulate locomotor activity and sleep is online at the Journal of Neuroscience. See also the Editor Highlight.

February 1, 2016 - Our paper showing that TRP channels can be used to non-invasively stimulate and ablate zebrafish neurons while monitoring 96 freely-behaving larvae is online at Nature Methods.

September 1, 2015 - Our paper demonstrating non-invasive optogenetics while monitoring 96 freely-behaving larvae is online at eLife.

March 18, 2015 - Our paper demonstrating that melatonin is required for the circadian regulation of sleep is online at Neuron. See also the Caltech Video.

March 15, 2015 - Our paper showing that the transcription factor Lhx9 regulates the specification of Hcrt neurons in zebrafish and mice is online at Development.

Larval zebrafish hypocretin neurons expressing Brainbow labels each neuron with a different color.

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