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Nilay Yapici

Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences, Assistant Professor

Nilay Yapici

Department of Neurobiology and Behavior Cornell University W153 Mudd Hall



Nilay Yapici is an Assistant Professor at Cornell University and Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator. Her research focuses on understanding how animals make behavioral decisions by integrating their physiologic states and external sensory stimuli received from the environment.  She earned her BA in molecular biology and genetics from Bogazici University in Turkey and went on to earn a PhD in 2008 at University of Vienna where she worked with Barry Dickson at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP).  She completed her postdoctoral training with Leslie Vosshall at the Rockefeller University before joining to Cornell as an Assistant Professor in 2016. 


  • Neurobiology and Behavior


Animals make state-dependent decisions by integrating sensory cues and internal motivational drives in the nervous system. Our lab is specifically interested in understanding how state dependent decisions are regulated. 

We use a genetically tractable model organism, the fly (Drosophila melanogaster), to understand the fundamental principles of how motivational states regulate food intake decisions on the level of molecules, cells and circuits. Our lab uses techniques ranging from high resolution quantitative measurements of behavior, functional imaging, neural tracing and genetics.


Spring 2022


  • Yapici, N., Cohn, R., Schusterreiter, C., Ruta, V., & Vosshall, L. B. (2016). A taste circuit that regulates ingestion by integrating food and hunger signals. Cell, 165(3), 715-729. 
  • Yapici, N., Zimmer, M., & Domingos, A. I. (2014). Cellular and molecular basis of decision‐making. EMBO Reports, 15, 1023-1035
  • Bussell, J. J., Yapici, N., Zhang, S. X., Dickson, B. J., & Vosshall, L. B. (2014). Abdominal-B neurons control Drosophila virgin female receptivity.Current Biology, 24, 1584-1595
  • Kim, Y. J., Bartalska, K., Audsley, N., Yamanaka, N., Yapici, N., Lee, J. Y. & Dickson, B. J. (2010). MIPs are ancestral ligands for the sex peptide receptor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 107, 6520-6525
  • Häsemeyer, M., Yapici, N., Heberlein, U., & Dickson, B. J. (2009). Sensory neurons in the Drosophila genital tract regulate female reproductive behavior. Neuron, 61, 511-518
  • Yapici, N., Kim, Y. J., Ribeiro, C., & Dickson, B. J. (2007). A receptor that mediates the post-mating switch in Drosophila reproductive behavior.Nature, 451, 33-37