William Quinn

William Quinn

Professor Emeritus

Before closing his lab, William Quinn analyzed the molecular and genetic underpinnings of learning and memory in fruit flies before retiring.






  • PhD 1971, Princeton University
  • BA, 1966, Biology, Harvard University

Research Summary

Fruit flies can learn. They can identify a specific chemical odor that they have experienced with electric shock and avoid it. Moreover, they can remember to avoid it for several days. Before closing his lab, the Quinn lab investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying learning acquisition and memory storage by inducing and selecting single-gene mutations that affect learning or memory, and by engineering transgenic fly strains that disrupt these processes. William Quinn is no longer accepting students.

Key Publications

  1. The amnesiac gene product is expressed in two neurons in the Drosophila brain that are critical for memory. Waddell, S, Armstrong, JD, Kitamoto, T, Kaiser, K, Quinn, WG. 2000. Cell 103, 805-13.
    doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)00183-5PMID:11114336
  2. A Drosophila CREB/CREM homolog encodes multiple isoforms, including a cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase-responsive transcriptional activator and antagonist. Yin, JC, Wallach, JS, Wilder, EL, Klingensmith, J, Dang, D, Perrimon, N, Zhou, H, Tully, T, Quinn, WG. 1995. Mol Cell Biol 15, 5123-30.
    doi: 10.1128/MCB.15.9.5123PMID:7651429
  3. A neuropeptide gene defined by the Drosophila memory mutant amnesiac. Feany, MB, Quinn, WG. 1995. Science 268, 869-73.
    doi: 10.1126/science.7754370PMID:7754370
  4. Induction of a dominant negative CREB transgene specifically blocks long-term memory in Drosophila. Yin, JC, Wallach, JS, Del Vecchio, M, Wilder, EL, Zhou, H, Quinn, WG, Tully, T. 1994. Cell 79, 49-58.
    doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(94)90399-9PMID:7923376
  5. cAMP-dependent protein kinase and the disruption of learning in transgenic flies. Drain, P, Folkers, E, Quinn, WG. 1991. Neuron 6, 71-82.
    doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(91)90123-hPMID:1702651
  6. Classical conditioning and retention in normal and mutant Drosophila melanogaster. Tully, T, Quinn, WG. 1985. J Comp Physiol A 157, 263-77.
    doi: 10.1007/BF01350033PMID:3939242
  7. Loss of calcium/calmodulin responsiveness in adenylate cyclase of rutabaga, a Drosophila learning mutant. Livingstone, MS, Sziber, PP, Quinn, WG. 1984. Cell 37, 205-15.
    doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(84)90316-7PMID:6327051
  8. Reward learning in normal and mutant Drosophila. Tempel, BL, Bonini, N, Dawson, DR, Quinn, WG. 1983. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 80, 1482-6.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.80.5.1482PMID:6572401
  9. Conditioned behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. Quinn, WG, Harris, WA, Benzer, S. 1974. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 71, 708-12.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.71.3.708PMID:4207071
Photo credit: Mandana Sassanfar