Scripps Florida - The Scripps Research Institute Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience


Seth Tomchik, Ph.D.

Seth Tomchik

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Miami, 2005

Department of Neuroscience 

The Scripps Research Institute 

130 Scripps Way, 3C2
Jupiter, Florida 33458

Telephone: 561-228-3496
Fax: 561-228-2250


Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in the how the brain guides innate and learned behaviors. We study both normal brain function and dysfunction in disease states, using primarily the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The powerful genetics of this model system, combined with our approaches for in vivo imaging and precise manipulation of neuronal activity, enable deep characterization of neuronal circuit function. Currently we are focusing on how neuromodulatory pathways are involved in shaping behaviors in Drosophila. This overarching theme is broken down into several major directions. First, we are studying the roles of candidate signaling molecules that are potentially involved in learning. In addition, we are looking at how major signaling pathways (such as cAMP/PKA) are activated during learning, and how activation of these pathways affects the responses of the neurons that encode memories. Finally, we are examining the way that neuronal responses are altered following memory acquisition or upon salient environmental changes.

In pursuit of these goals, we use in vivo imaging of novel genetically encoded fluorescent reporters in both live flies and in isolated, intact brains. These imaging techniques, combined with behavioral analysis of mutant and wild-type animals and genetic screens, provide multiple angles to approach the function of molecules, neurons, and circuits involved in innate and learned behaviors in exquisite detail.

Selected Publications

Murphy KR, Deshpande SA, Yurgel ME, Quinn JP, Weissbach JL, Keene AC, Dawson-Scully K, Huber R, Tomchik SM, Ja WW (2016) Postprandial sleep mechanics in Drosophila. eLife, accepted.

Boto T, Louis T, Jindachomthong K, Jalink K, Tomchik SM (2014) Dopaminergic modulation cAMP drives nonlinear plasticity across the Drosophila mushroom body lobes. Curr Biol 24: 822-831.

Tomchik SM (2013) Dopaminergic neurons encode a distributed, asymmetric representation of temperature in Drosophila. J Neurosci 33: 2166-2176.

Tomchik SM, Davis RL (2009) Dynamics of learning-related cAMP signaling and stimulus integration in the Drosophila olfactory pathway. Neuron 64: 510-521.

Tomchik SM, Davis RL (2008) Behavioural neuroscience: Out of sight, but not out of mind. Nature 453: 1192-1194.

Tomchik SM, Davis RL (2008) Cyclic AMP imaging sheds light on PDF signaling in circadian clock neurons. Neuron 58: 161-163.

Tomchik SM, Berg S, Kim JW, Chaudhari N, Roper SD (2007) Breadth of tuning and taste coding in mammalian taste buds. J Neurosci 27: 10840-10848.

Dvoryanchikov G, Tomchik SM, Chaudhari N (2007) Biogenic amine synthesis and uptake in rodent taste buds. J Comp Neurol 505: 302-313.

Tomchik SM, Lu Z (2006) Modulation of auditory signal-to-noise ratios by efferent stimulation. J Neurophysiol 95: 3562-3570.

Tomchik SM (2006) Appetite for destruction: neuron ablations, prey capture, and sensorimotor integration in larval zebrafish. J Neurosci 26: 1329-1330.

Awards, Recognition, Appointments, and Honors

2002-2005 Robert E. Maytag Fellowship
2006-2007 NIH/NINDS Postdoctoral Training Grant Recipient
2007-2009 NIH/NINDS Biomedical Discovery Training Program Fellowship
2010-2015 NIH/NIMH Pathway to Independence Award