Nigel Atkinson

As an undergraduate at Texas A&M I studied microbiology and performed undergraduate research on Saccharomyces cerevisiae and bacteriophage lambda. I began graduate school at Texas A&M but left after my PI failed to get tenure.
I restarted my graduate career at The Hershey Medical Center of the Penn State University. I cloned and characterized the RNA1 gene. Mutations in RNA1 interfered with tRNA, rRNA and mRNA processing.
I became interested in the relationship between gene regulation and complex behavior. Yeast show very little behavior and so I chose to move up the food chain to study behavior in Drosophila melanogaster.
I trained as a post-doc in the neurogenetics lab of Barry Ganeztky (UW Madison, Wisconsin). In Dr. Ganetzky’s lab I learned Drosophila genetics, behavioral analysis and electrophysiology. As a post-doc I cloned the slo gene. This was the first example of a BK-type Ca2+-activated K+ channel.
I started my own lab in January of 1991. I began by studying the transcriptional regulation of slo and the links to behavior. We have linked the slo gene to the production of drug and ethanol tolerance.

How did I get the job of getting flies high for a living?