Dennis Mathew, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Dennis Mathew

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., (Molecular & Cellular Biology), University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2006
  • M.Sc., (Biotechnology), M.S. University, Vadodara, India, 1998
  • B.Sc., (Microbiology & Biochemistry) SIES College, Mumbai, India, 1996


  • Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, 2014 - present
  • Associate Research Scientist, Yale University, New Haven, 2012 - 2014
  • Postdoctoral Associate (Lab of Prof. John Carlson), Yale University, New Haven, 2006 - 2012
  • Research Assistant (Lab of Prof. Vivian Budnik), University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2000 - 2005

Research Interests:

The overarching goal of the research conducted in our lab is to understand a central question in neuroscience, which is at the core of information processing in all animals: How does a circuit of neurons translate olfactory input into behavioral output?

In our lab, we study olfaction since it offers a plethora of biological questions awaiting understanding at the molecular and cellular level. Specifically, we focus our work on the sophisticated (but numerically simple!) olfactory system of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) larva. We study this olfactory system using numerous interdisciplinary approaches, including electrophysiology, behavior, and molecular genetics. We have recently developed tools (strong, specific activators for individual ORNs and a novel behavioral paradigm that allows detailed characterization of larval navigation) that will allow us to carry out an unparalleled, systematic, and comprehensive dissection of the larval olfactory circuit.

Although basic research is the cornerstone of our lab, there are practical benefits to studying insect olfaction. Hundreds of millions of people, each year, suffer from diseases transmitted by insects. Billions of dollars worth of agricultural losses in Nevada and worldwide, are caused by insects. Many of these insects locate their human or plant hosts through olfactory cues. A better understanding of the principles of olfaction and neural circuit function will enable the design of pragmatic and environmentally friendly methods to curb the menace of disease-carrying insects (e.g. mosquitoes), and agricultural pests (e.g. Mormon cricket grasshopper). Additionally, our research seeks to define mechanisms that underlie neurological diseases in humans.


  • Mathew D, Martelli C, Kelley-Swift E, Brusalis C, Gershow M, Samuel, A.D.T, Emonet T, Carlson JR. "Functional diversity among sensory receptors in a Drosophila olfactory circuit", (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. June 4; 110(23): E2134-43
  • Gershow M, Berck M, Mathew D, Luo L, Kane EA, Carlson JR, Samuel ADT. "Controlling airborne chemical cues for studying navigation in small animals" , (2012) Nature Methods, Jan 15; 9(3): 290-6
  • Montague SA, Mathew D, Carlson JR. "Similar odorants elicit different behavioral and physiological responses, some super sustained" (2011) J Neurosci, May 25; 31(21): 7891-9
  • Kreher SA, Mathew D, Kim J, Carlson JR. "Translation of sensory input into behavioral output via an olfactory system" (2008) Neuron July 10; 59(1): 110-24
  • Ataman B, Ashley J, Gorczyca D, Gorczyca M, Mathew D, Wichmann C, Sigrist SJ and Budnik V. "Nuclear trafficking of Drosophila Frizzled-2 during synapse development requires the PDZ protein dGRIP" (2006) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. May 16; 103(20): 7841-6
  • Mathew D, Ataman B, Chen J, Zhang Y, Cumberledge S and Budnik V. "Novel mechanism of wingless signaling at synapses via DFrizzled2 cleavage and nuclear import" (2005) Science Nov 25; 310 (5752): 1344-7.

See also commentary in 'Science Perspectives': Martinez Arias A. 2005. Cell signaling. Frizzled at the cutting edge of the synapse. Science Nov 25; 310 (5752): 1284-5.

  • Mathew D, Popescu A and Budnik V. "Drosophila amphiphysin functions during synaptic Fasciclin II membrane cycling" (2003) J Neurosci. Nov 19; 23(33): 10710-6.
  • Mathew D, Gramates LS, Packard M, Thomas U, Bilder D, Perrimon N, Gorczyca M, and Budnik V. "Recruitment of scribble to the synaptic scaffolding complex requires GUK-holder, a novel DLG binding protein" (2002) Curr Biol Apr 2; 12(7): 531-9


  • Packard M, Mathew D, Budnik V. "FASt remodeling of synapses in Drosophila" (2003) Curr Opin Neurobiol Oct 13; (5): 527-34.
  • Packard M, Mathew D and Budnik V. "Wnts and TGF beta in synaptogenesis: old friends signalling at new places" (2003) Nat Rev Neurosci. Feb 4; (2): 113-20.