Yvette Fisher, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Yvette Fisher is currently a Hanna Gray Postdoctoral Fellow in Rachel Wilson’s lab at Harvard Medical School. In 2021 she will start her own lab as an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley in the department of Molecular & Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. Her research uses spatial navigation in fruit flies to understand how nervous systems flexibly process information. During her Ph.D. with Tom Clandinin at Stanford University, Yvette identified critical neurons and algorithms that allow the fly brain to perceive visual motion. She also built a generalizable genetic toolkit that allows target genes to be conditionally turned on or off in any cell type of interest. As a postdoc, Yvette solved the problem of how visual scenes map onto head direction cells (compass neurons) in the fly brain, creating a sense of direction. Her ongoing work combines advanced genetic manipulations, quantitative behavioral analysis, in vivo whole-cell electrophysiology, and calcium imaging to understand how the sense of direction can switch its mode of operation rapidly when contexts change, while also functioning stably across a lifetime.