Mark Arthur Frye, Ph.D.

Laboratory Address:
Terasaki Life Science

Director, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area
Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology, Neurobiology
Member, Brain Research Institute, Neuroscience GPB Home Area
Research Interests
How are flexible and robust animal behaviors orchestrated by the nervous system? Different forms of this general question have occupied neuroscientists for decades. Great strides have been made toward describing the mechanisms of nervous system function, and our next challenge is to examine how the basic elements are integrated with other physiological systems to produce complex behavior. My lab seeks to push forward our understanding of the physiological processes that enable animals to navigate through widely varying sensory landscapes. We focus on flying insects (particularly flies) because they exhibit extremes in performance unrivaled in the animal kingdom. Physiological specializations such as the fastest visual systems and most powerful muscles tend to magnify structure-function relationships, making flies well suited for studying complex behavior at multiple levels of organization. Using techniques drawn from the fields of neurobiology and biomechanics, we study how the activity of sensory neurons, interneurons, and motoneurons control wing motions, aerodynamic forces, and resultant free flight behavior.

Dr. Frye began his research career at Union College, then received his PhD at the University of Washington. As a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley and Caltech, he worked on multi-sensory processing and motor control of flight in fruit flies. He is currently a member of the Department of Physiological Science, and teaches courses in integrative and comparative animal physiology. He has been awarded a Sloan Foundation Fellowship and HHMI Early Career Investigator. His laboratory examines sensory fuison and sensory-motor integration for the control of flight and walking behavior in fruit flies using virtual reality, optogenetics, and in-vivo imaging approaches. 


A selected list of publications:

Duistermars, BJ Frye, MA   Cross-modal visual input for odor tracking during fly flight, Curr. Biol. , 2008; 18(4): 270-275.
Duistermars, BJ Chow, D Condro, M Frye, MA   The spatial, temporal, and contrast properties of expansion and rotation flight optomotor responses in Drosophila, J. Exp. Biol. , 2007; 210: 3218-3227.
Frye, MA Dickinson, MH   Visual edge orientation shapes free-flight behavior in Drosophila, Fly, 2007; 3: 153-154.
Frye, MA Dickinson, MH   Closing the loop between neurobiology and flight behavior in Drosophila Current opinion in neurobiology. , 2004; 14(6): 729-36.
Aptekar Jacob W, Keleş Mehmet F, Lu Patrick M, Zolotova Nadezhda M, Frye Mark A   Neurons forming optic glomeruli compute figure-ground discriminations in Drosophila The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2015; 35(19): 7587-99.
Keleş Mehmet, Frye Mark A   The eyes have it eLife, 2017; 6(Pt A): 204-213.
Aptekar Jacob W, Keles Mehmet F, Mongeau Jean-Michel, Lu Patrick M, Frye Mark A, Shoemaker Patrick A   Method and software for using m-sequences to characterize parallel components of higher-order visual tracking behavior in Drosophila Frontiers in neural circuits, 2014; 8(11): 130.
Frye Mark   Elementary motion detectors Current biology : CB, 2015; 25(6): R215-R217.
Omoto Jaison Jiro, Keleş Mehmet Fatih, Nguyen Bao-Chau Minh, Bolanos Cheyenne, Lovick Jennifer Kelly, Frye Mark Arthur, Hartenstein Volker   Visual Input to the Drosophila Central Complex by Developmentally and Functionally Distinct Neuronal Populations Current biology : CB, 2017; 27(8): 1098-1110.
Wasserman Sara M, Aptekar Jacob W, Lu Patrick, Nguyen Jade, Wang Austin L, Keles Mehmet F, Grygoruk Anna, Krantz David E, Larsen Camilla, Frye Mark A   Olfactory neuromodulation of motion vision circuitry in Drosophila Current biology : CB, 2015; 25(4): 467-72.
Wasserman Sara M, Frye Mark A   Group behavior: social context modulates behavioral responses to sensory stimuli Current biology : CB, 2015; 25(11): R467-9.
Frye Mark A   Insect Vision: A Neuron that Anticipates an Object's Path Current biology : CB, 2017; 27(19): R1076-R1078.
Keleş Mehmet F, Frye Mark A   Object-Detecting Neurons in Drosophila Current biology : CB, 2017; 27(5): 680-687.
Mongeau Jean-Michel, Frye Mark A   Drosophila Spatiotemporally Integrates Visual Signals to Control Saccades Current biology : CB, 2017; 27(19): 2901-2914.e2.