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Ronald Booker

Associate Professor

photo of Ronald Booker


  • Neurobiology and Behavior

Graduate Fields

  • Neurobiology and Behavior


The long-term goal of the research in our laboratory is to determine the neural basis of behavioral ontogeny using the moth Manduca sexta, and the fly Drosophila melanogaster as model systems. Both of these insects go through a complete metamorphosis from a larva to an adult through the developmentally interesting pupal stage. Along with the dramatic changes in body morphology metamorphosis also results in the in shift in the behaviors repertoire of these insects. Our goal is to understand the neural correlates that accompany these changes in behavior. We exploit Manduca's large and easily accessible nervous system allowing us to examine the role of extrinsic cues (e.g. hormones; cell-cell interactions) and in the regulation of postembryonic development of the CNS. Currently, we are examining the role of a set of hormones in regulating the motor patterns during Manduca's molt cycles. We also exploit the genetic tools offered by Drosophila in our research program to learn more about cellular and molecular basis of postembryonic neurogenesis. We recently completed a screen for Drosophila mutants that disrupted the pattern of postembryonic neurogenesis. The genetic and molecular analysis of these mutants should provide new insights into the factors involved in the regulation of postembryonic neurogenesis.



  • Bolkan BJ, Booker R, Goldberg ML, Barbash DA. (2007). Developmental and cell cycle progression defects in Drosophila hybrid males. Genetics177:2233-41.
  • Bestman, J. and Booker, R. (2006). The control of foregut motility during a larval molt of the moth, Manduca sexta involves the modulation of presynaptic Activity. J. Exp. Biol. 209:4000-4010.
  • Bayline, R.J., D.M. Dean, and R. Booker (2005). Inhibitors of ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis can delay programmed cell death of adult intersegmental muscles in the moth, Manduca sexta Dev. Dyn. 233:445-455.
  • Bestman, J. C.I. Miles and R. Booker (2003). Regulation of foregut activity during the larval-larval molt in the moth, Manduca sexta. J. Exp. Biol. 206:1207-1220
  • Rivlin, P., A. Gong, A.M. Schneiderman and R. Booker (2001). The role of Ultrabithorax in the patterning of adult thoracic muscle in Drosophila melanogaster Dev. Gene Evol 211:55-66.
  • del Campo C.M.L., C.I. Miles, F.C. Schroeder, C. Mueller, R. Booker, and J.A Renwick (2001). Host recognition by the tobacco hornworm is mediated by a host plant compound. Nature 411:186-189.
  • Bayline, R., B.M. Khoo and R. Booker (1998). The role of innervation in determining the fate of abdominal muscles in the moth, Manduca sexta. Dev. Gene Evol. 7:369-381.
  • Miles, C. I., and Booker, R. (2000). Effects of parasitism and octopamine on the frontal ganglion and foregut of the moth, Manduca sexta J. Exp. Biol. 203: 1689-1700.
  • Rivlin, P., A.M. Schneiderman and R. Booker (2000). Imaginal muscle pioneers:play a role in the patterning of the adult thoracic muscle of the fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Dev. Biol. 222:450-459.
  • Zheng, Z., B.M. Khoo, L. Garza, D. Fambrough and R. Booker (1999). The pattern of expression of homeobox genes in wild-type and mutant embryos of the moth Manduca sexta. Dev. Gene Evol. 209:460-472.
  • Miles, C.I. and R. Booker (1998). Developmental changes in the frontal ganglion and foregut of the moth, Manduca sexta. J. Exp. Biol. 201: 1785-1798.