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headshot of Pavel Masek

Pavel Masek

Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences


Masek's research focuses on taste perception and feeding-driven motivational behavior and on the molecular basis of synaptic plasticity and neuronal circuits underlying gustatory learning and memory using fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model organism. Other projects involve sleep and metabolism interaction, the effect of metabolic and sleep perturbation on feeding and memory, evolutionary changes leading to altered feeding and motivational behavior and courtship behavior. Masek is utilizing behavioral assays as well as calcium imaging and optogenetics to interrogate the studied circuits. He uses multiple behavioral assays ranging from naïve taste perception to discriminative learning. A single fly conditioning assay is established in the lab as well as several taste/feeding assays to improve understanding of taste processing and feeding behavior. Additionally, optogenetic and thermogenetic systems are available to control function and activity of specific neuronal populations to interrogate function of neural circuits in an intact behaving fly.


  • PhD, University of Wurzburg
  • MS, BS, University of South Bohemia
  • Post-doc, UC Berkeley

Research Interests

  • Behavioral neurogenetics - taste and feeding, learning and memory

Research Profile