alex keene
Alex Keene

Professor & Department Head

Keene Lab Website

Fax: 979-845-2891
Phone: 458-1365
Email:
akeene@bio.tamu.edu

Office:
3258 TAMU
Butler Hall Rm 100

Lab:
Butler Hall Rm 201

Joined the Department in 2021

  • B.Sc. University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2002
  • Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 2006

Neural regulation of sleep, appetite, and energy homeostasis is critical to an animal’s survival and under stringent evolutionary pressure. Flies, like mammals, suppress sleep when starved, providing a system to interrogate interactions between sleep and metabolism. We have performed a large genetic screens to identify novel regulators of sleep-metabolism interactions, and are currently investigating the genes and neural circuits that integrate these processes. As a complementary approach, we have been working to establish Mexican cavefish as a model for the evolution of sleep in a nutrient-poor environment. We have generated comparative brain atlases and whole-brain functional imaging approaches that have identified a reorganization of the hypothalamus and increased slow wave sleep intensity in cavefish. Together this system has potential to identify conserved genetic, physiological, and anatomical mechanisms associated with variable sleep

  1. Li, W, Keene, AC. Flies sense the world while sleeping. Nature. 2021;598 (7881):423-424. doi: 10.1038/d41586-021-02441-6. PubMed PMID:34588643 .
  2. Lloyd, E, Chhouk, B, Conith, AJ, Keene, AC, Albertson, RC. Diversity in rest-activity patterns among Lake Malawi cichlid fishes suggests a novel axis of habitat partitioning. J Exp Biol. 2021;224 (7):. doi: 10.1242/jeb.242186. PubMed PMID:34424981 .
  3. O'Gorman, M, Thakur, S, Imrie, G, Moran, RL, Choy, S, Sifuentes-Romero, I et al.. Pleiotropic function of the oca2 gene underlies the evolution of sleep loss and albinism in cavefish. Curr Biol. 2021;31 (16):3694-3701.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.06.077. PubMed PMID:34293332 .
  4. Botero, V, Stanhope, BA, Brown, EB, Grenci, EC, Boto, T, Park, SJ et al.. Neurofibromin regulates metabolic rate via neuronal mechanisms in Drosophila. Nat Commun. 2021;12 (1):4285. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24505-x. PubMed PMID:34257279 PubMed Central PMC8277851.
  5. Mack, KL, Jaggard, JB, Persons, JL, Roback, EY, Passow, CN, Stanhope, BA et al.. Repeated evolution of circadian clock dysregulation in cavefish populations. PLoS Genet. 2021;17 (7):e1009642. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009642. PubMed PMID:34252077 PubMed Central PMC8297936.
  6. Brown, EB, Shah, KD, Palermo, J, Dey, M, Dahanukar, A, Keene, AC et al.. Ir56d-dependent fatty acid responses in Drosophila uncover taste discrimination between different classes of fatty acids. Elife. 2021;10 :. doi: 10.7554/eLife.67878. PubMed PMID:33949306 PubMed Central PMC8169106.
  7. Warren, WC, Boggs, TE, Borowsky, R, Carlson, BM, Ferrufino, E, Gross, JB et al.. A chromosome-level genome of Astyanax mexicanus surface fish for comparing population-specific genetic differences contributing to trait evolution. Nat Commun. 2021;12 (1):1447. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21733-z. PubMed PMID:33664263 PubMed Central PMC7933363.
  8. Lloyd, E, Chhouk, B, Conith, AJ, Keene, AC, Albertson, RC. Diversity in rest-activity patterns among Lake Malawi cichlid fishes suggests a novel axis of habitat partitioning. J Exp Biol. 2021;224 (7):. doi: 10.1242/jeb.242186. PubMed PMID:33658242 PubMed Central PMC8077532.
  9. Shafer, OT, Keene, AC. The Regulation of Drosophila Sleep. Curr Biol. 2021;31 (1):R38-R49. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.10.082. PubMed PMID:33434488 .
  10. Collie, J, Granela, O, Brown, EB, Keene, AC. Aggression Is Induced by Resource Limitation in the Monarch Caterpillar. iScience. 2020;23 (12):101791. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101791. PubMed PMID:33376972 PubMed Central PMC7756136.
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