The NeuroDrosophiLab of Nigel Atkinson


About me

My B.S. is in Microbiology from Texas A&M. For my Ph.D. I studied yeast RNA processing at Hershey Medical Center of the Penn State University. I post-doc’d at The University of Wisconsin-Madison where I studied Drosophila neurogenetics and cloned the first example of a BK type Ca2+-activated K+ channel gene. Read more...

About the lab

We study the molecular mechanism underlying drug tolerance in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster.

We are housed in the Department of Neuroscience and belong to the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research. My laboratory is  located on the second floor of the Patterson building. Read more about the Waggoner Center... Read more about Deparment of Neuroscience...

Computer programs


DugDug article about our work.

Graduate school

I draw graduate students from the Molecular Biology program and from the Neuroscience Program. More about these programs.

Contact information

Office 512-232-3404
Lab Phone: 512-471-1629
Fax: 512-471-9651

U.S. Mail

Nigel Atkinson
The University of Texas at Austin
Neurobiology, Section of
1 University Station C0920
Austin, Texas 78712-0248


2400 Speedway PAT 140
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1064

Current Funding is from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Lab membersMembers_of_the_lab.html

Selected recent papers

Ghezzi, A, Krishnan, HR, Lew, L, Pardo, FJr, Ong, DS, and Atkinson, NS (2013). Alcohol-induced Histone Acetylation Reveals a Gene Network Involved in Alcohol Tolerance. PLoS Genetics 9:e1003986. PMID: 24348266

Li, X, Ghezzi, A, Pohl, JB, Bohm, AY, Krishnan, HR, Atkinson, NS (2013) A DNA element regulates drug tolerance and withdrawal. PLoS One, 8:e75549

Robinson, B.G. and N.S. Atkinson. 2013. Is Alcoholism Learned? Insights from the Fruit Fly. Current Opinion in Neurobiology pii: S0959-4388(13)00032-9. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.01.016. [Epub ahead of print]

Pohl, JB, Ghezzi, A, Lew, L, Robles, RB, Cormack, L, and Atkinson, NS (2013). Circadian genes differentially affect tolerance to ethanol in Drosophila. Alcohol Clin Exp Res doi: 10.1111/acer.12173.

Ghezzi, A., Y.M. Al-Hasan, H.R. Krishnan, Y. Wang and N.S. Atkinson. 2013. Functional mapping of the neuronal substrates for drug tolerance in Drosophila. Behav Genet 43: 227-240.

Ghezzi, A., H.R. Krishnan and N.S. Atkinson. 2012. Susceptibility to ethanol withdrawal seizures is produced by BK channel gene expression. Addiction Biology doi: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2012.00465.x. [Epub ahead of print]

Robinson, B.G., S. Khurana, A. Kuperman and N.S. Atkinson. 2012. Neural Adaptation Leads to Cognitive Ethanol Dependence. Current Biology 22: 2338-2341.

Pohl, J.B., B.A. Baldwin, B.L. Dinh, P. Rahman, D. Smerek, F.J.r. Prado, N. Sherazee and N.S. Atkinson. 2012. Ethanol Preference in Drosophila melanogaster is Driven by Its Caloric Value. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 36: 1903-1912.

Khurana, et al. (2012). Olfactory Conditioning in the Third Instar Larvae of Drosophila melanogaster Using Heat Shock Reinforcement. Behav Genet 42:151-161. PMID: 21833772

Robinson, et al. 2012. A low concentration of ethanol impairs learning but not motor and sensory behavior in Drosophila larvae. PLoS One 7: e37394.

Krishnan HR, Al-Hasan YM, Pohl JB, Ghezzi A, Atkinson NS (2012) A role for dynamin in triggering ethanol tolerance. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 36: 24-34.

Classes that I teachClasses_that_I_teach.html
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