Troy Zars, Ph.D.


Division of Biological Sciences

219 Lefevre Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211


Ph.D. University of Notre Dame, 1997
B.A. Luther College, 1990

Research Interests

Genes and neural systems that support learned behavior in Drosophila.

Google scholar citation page

Ad hoc Peer Review, past 5 years (128 total)

Nature, Science, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., Current Biology, Cell, Neuron, eLife, J. Neurosci., Cell Report, Learn. Mem., Genetics, PLoS Genetics, Scientific Reports, Disease Models and Mechanism, Sleep, Front. Behavior. Neurosci., PLoS ONE, J. Exp. Biol., Genes Brains Behavior, Neuromethods, Biochemie, Biology Letters, BioEssays, Brain Behavior Immunity, Biology Open, Neurobiol Learn Memory, J Neurophysiology.

Selected Publications

Ostrowski, D., A. Salari, M. Zars, and T. Zars. (2018) A biphasic response to acute unsignaled high temperature exposure in Drosophila. PLoS ONE, 13 (6), e0198702.

Mishra, A. and T. Zars. (2018) Sex: The end is all you need. Current Biology. 28, R614-616.

Mishra, A*, A. Salari*, B.R. Berigan*, K.C. Miguel, M. Amirsheneva, A. Robinson, B.C. Zars, J.L. Lin, L.S. Milescu#, M. Milescu#, and T. Zars# (2018) The Drosophila Gr28bD product is a non-specific cation channel that can be used as a novel thermogenetic tool. Scientific Reports. 8, 901.

Baggett, V., A. Mishra, A.L. Kehrer, A.O. Robinson, P. Shaw, and T. Zars. (2018) Place learning overrides innate behaviors in Drosophila. Learning and Memory. 25, 122-128doi:10.1101/lm.046136.117

Sitaraman, D.*, E.F. Kramer*, L. Kahsai, D. Ostrowski, and T. Zars. (2017) Discrete serotonin systems mediate memory enhancement and escape latencies after unpredicted aversive experience in Drosophila place memory. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 11, 92. | doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2017.00092

LaFerriere, H, and T. Zars. (2017) The Drosophila melanogaster tribbles pseudokinase is necessary for proper memory formation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 144, 68-76.

Zars, T. (2017) Working memory: It’s a gas, gas, gas. Current Biology. 27, R179-181.

Ostrowski, D., L. Kahsai, E.F. Kramer, P. Knutson, and T. Zars. (2015) Place memory retention in Drosophila. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 123, 217-224.

Mendoza E, J. Colomb, J. Rybak J, H.-J. Pflüger, T. Zars, C. Scharff, and B. Brembs. (2014)  Drosophila FoxP mutants are deficient in operant self-learning.  PLoS ONE, 9(6): e100648.

Ostrowski, D., and T. Zars. (2014) Place memory. in Handbook of Behavior Genetics of Drosophila melanogaster: Behavioral Phenotypes and Models of Neurobehavioral Disorders. J. Dubnau, ed. Cambridge, UK. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781139950084

Kahsai, L, Zars T. (2013) Visual working memory: now you see it, now you don’t. Current Biology 23, R843-845

Masoner, V., R. Das, L. Pence, A. Gaurav, H. LaFerriere, S. Goode, T. Zars, S. Bouyain, L Dobens. (2013) The kinase domain of Drosophila tribbles is required for turnover of fly C/EBP protein during cell migration. Developmental Biology, 375, 33-44.

Zars, T. (2012) She said no, Pass me a beer. Science 335, 1309-1310.

Sitaraman, D.*, H. LaFerriere*, and T. Zars (2012) Serotonin is critical for rewarded olfactory short-term memory in Drosophila. J. Neurogenetics. 26, 238-244 .

LaFerriere, H., K. Speichinger, A. Stromhaug, and T. Zars (2011) The radish gene reveals a memory component with variable temporal properties. PLoS ONE 6(9) e24557.

Zars, T. (2011) Flies race to a safe place. Nature, 474, 169-170.

Laferriere, H., D. Ostrowski, D.J. Guarnieri, and T. Zars (2011) The arouser EPS8L3 gene is critical for normal memory in Drosophila. PLoS ONE 6, e22867.

Kahsai, L, and T. Zars. (2011) Learning and memory in Drosophila: behavior, genetics, and neural systems. Int. Rev. Neurobiol. 99, 139-168.

Sitaraman, D. and T. Zars. (2010) Lack of prediction for high-temperature exposures enhances Drosophila place learning. J. Exp. Biol. 213, 4018-4022.

Sitaraman, D., M. Zars, and T. Zars. (2010) Place memory formation in Drosophila is independent of proper octopamine signaling. J. Comp. Physiol. A, 196, 299-305.

Zars, T. (2010) Short-term memories in Drosophila are governed by general and specific genetic systems. Learning and Memory 17, 246-251.

Zars, T. (2010) Visualizing PKA dynamics in a learning center. Neuron 65, 442-444.

Gioia, A., and T. Zars. (2009) Thermotolerance and place memory in adult Drosophila are independent of natural variation at the foraging locus. J. Comp. Physiol. A, 195, 777-782.

Zars, M., and T. Zars (2009) Rapid matching in Drosophila place learning. Naturwissenschaften, 96, 927-931.

Zars, T. (2009) Spatial orientation in Drosophila. J. Neurogenetics, 23, 104-110.

Sitaraman, D., Zars, M., LaFerriere, H., Chen, Y., Sable-Smith, A., Kitamoto, T., Rottinghaus, G., and T. Zars. (2008) Serotonin is necessary for place memory in Drosophila. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105, 5579-5584.

Laferriere, H, Guarnieri, D., Sitaraman, D., Diegelman, S., Heberlein, U., and Zars, T. (2008) Genetic dissociation of ethanol sensitivity and learning in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics, 178, 1895-1902.

Sitaraman, D., Zars, M, and T. Zars. (2007) Reinforcement pre-exposure enhances spatial memory formation in Drosophila. J. Comp. Physiol. A, 193, 903-908.

Zars, M., and T. Zars (2006). High and low temperatures have unequal reinforcing properties in Drosophila spatial learning. J. Comp. Physiol. A, 192, 727-735.

Liu, G., H. Seiler, A. Wen, T. Zars, K. Ito, R. Wolf, M. Heisenberg, L. Liu, (2006). Distinct memory traces for two visual features in the Drosophila brain. Nature, 439, 551-556.

Diegelmann, S., M. Zars, and T. Zars (2006). Genetic dissociation of acquisition and memory strength in the heat-box spatial learning paradigm in Drosophila. Learning and Memory, 13, 72-83.

Zars, T. (2003) Hot and cold in Drosophila larvae. Trends in Neuroscience, 26, 575-577.

Schwaerzel, M., M. Heisenberg, and T. Zars (2002) Extinction antagonizes olfactory memory at the sub-cellular level. Neuron 35, 951-960.

Zars, T. (2001) Two thermosensors in Drosophila have different behavioral functions. J. Comp. Physiol. A 187, 235-242.

Zars, T. (2000) Behavioral functions of the insect mushroom bodies. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 10, 790-795.

Zars, T., M. Fischer, R. Schulz, and M. Heisenberg (2000). Localization of a short-term memory in Drosophila. Science 288, 672-675.

Zars, T., R. Wolf, R. Davis, and M. Heisenberg (2000). Tissue specific expression of a type I adenylyl cyclase rescues the rutabaga mutant memory defect: In search of the engram. Learning and Memory 7, 18-31.