Professor of School of Biological Sciences
The Vickers Lab
Brain and Behavior
B.Sc. 1987, Imperial College, London; Ph.D. 1992, University of California, Riverside; Postdoctoral Research Associate 1993-1994, Iowa State University; Postdoctoral Research Associate 1995-1998, University of Arizona
Neuroethology of olfaction
Dr. Vickers is interested in understanding the neural underpinnings of behaviors mediated by olfaction. The basis for our neuroethological approach is to combine wind-tunnel and field studies of pheromone-mediated flight behavior with intracellular neurophysiological investigations of the olfactory system in several related species of moth. Moths are a useful model system in which to study olfaction because: 1. odors elicit stereotypical behaviors; 2. much is known about the individual odorants and blends that attract or repel moths; 3. moths have an accessible olfactory system that lends itself to neurophysiological investigation. These studies are leading to new insights into both the sensory processing of odor information by the brain and the evolution of olfactory communication. The species that we use are important agricultural pests raising the possibility that new understandings arising from our research will also lead to more effective and environmentally rational means of pest control.