Roeder Lecture

Bioengineer examines how flies fly

Michael Dickinson, professor of bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, will deliver the 2003 Roeder Memorial Lecture on Thursday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Barnum 104. His topic will be "How Flies Fly: The Neurobiology of Aerodynamic Control."

The biology department has sponsored the annual lecture since 1980 in memory of and honor of Prof. Kenneth Roeder, a Tufts faculty member and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Roeder was a leader in the fields of neurobiology and behavior and was an outstanding teacher.

Fittingly, Roeder is the template used to choose each year's lecturer, who must be a scientist leading his/her field with the ability to share the excitement of research and to explain complex information to a general audience.

Dickinson attended Brown University, where he became fascinated with the mechanisms that underlie animal behavior. As an undergraduate, he studied the roles of neurons and neurotransmitters in the control of leech feeding behavior. He received his Ph.D. in zoology in 1989 from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he focused on the physiology of sensory cells on the wings of flies. Dickinson has held academic appointments at the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley.

Since starting his own lab, Dickinson has studied the flight behavior of insects in an attempt to integrate cellular physiology, biomechanics, aerodynamics and behavior. His awards include the Larry Sandler Award from the Genetics Society of America, the Bartholemew Award for Comparative Physiology from the American Society of Zoologists, a Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering, the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.