Yehuda Ben-Shahar

​Animal behavior is mediated by the nervous system, according to information encoded in the genome. The Ben-Shahar lab uses a variety of behavioral, genetic, genomic, biochemical, and molecular techniques to decipher the genetic architecture that drives specific behaviors.

Selected Publications

Ben-Shahar Y, Thompson CK, Hartz SM, Smith BH and Robinson GE (2000) Differences in performance on a reversal learning test and division of labor in honey bee colonies. Animal Cognition 3:119-125.

Hartz SM, Ben-Shahar Y and Tyler M. (2001) Logistic growth curve analysis in associative learning data. Animal Cognition4:185-189.

Ben-Shahar Y and Robinson GE. (2001) Satiation differentially affects performance in a learning assay by nurse and forager honey bees. Journal of Comparative Physiology [A] 187:891-899.

Ben-Shahar Y, Robichon A, Sokolowski MB and Robinson GE. (2002) Influence of gene action across different time scales on behavior. Science 296:741-744. ("Must read", Faculty of 1000; reported in the NY Times; Washington Post; Ha-Aretz; German Public Radio; CBC Radio, Canada; South African Public Radio; Genome News Network; Mutant of the Month, Nature Genetics, December, 2006)

Robinson GE and Ben-Shahar Y. (2002) Social behavior and comparative genomics: new genes or new gene regulation? Genes Brain and Behavior 1:197-203.

Ben-Shahar Y, Leung H-T, Pak WL, Sokolowski MB and Robinson GE. (2002) division of labor in honey bee colonies is influenced by cGMP-dependent changes in phototaxis. Journal of Experimental Biology 206:2507-2515.

Ben-Shahar Y, Dudek N and Robinson GE. (2004) malvolio, manganese, and division of labor in honey bee colonies: deconstructing a complex phenotype. Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 3281-3288. (Cover)

Fitzpatrick MJ, Ben-Shahar Y, Smid HM, Vet LEM, Robinson GE and Sokolowski MB. (2005) Candidate genes for behavioral ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20:96-104.

Ben-Shahar Y (2005) The foraging gene, behavioral plasticity, and honey bee division of labor. Journal of Comparative Physiology [A] 191:987-994.

Whitfield CW, Ben-Shahar Y, Brillet C, Leoncini I, LeConte Y, Rodriguez-Zas S and Robinson GE. (2006) Genomic dissection of behavioral maturation in the honey bee. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103: 16068-16075.

Williams KD, Busto M, Suster ML, So AK, Ben-Shahar Y, Leevers SJ, and Sokolowski MB. (2006) Natural variation in Drosophila melanogaster diapause due to the insulin-regulated PI-3 kinase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:15911-15915.

Ben-Shahar Y, Nannapaneni K, Casavant TL, Scheetz TE and Welsh MJ. (2007) Eukaryotic operon-like transcription of functionally related genes in DrosophilaProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 222-227. (Must read, Faculty of 1000)

Sun Y, Liu L, Ben-Shahar Y, Jacobs JS, Eberl DF and Welsh MJ. (2009) TRPA channels distinguish gravity sensing from hearing in Johnston’s organ. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 13606–13611. (“Recommended”, Faculty of 1000)

Shah A*, Ben-Shahar Y*, Moninger TO, Kline JN and Welsh MJ. (2009) Motile Cilia of Human Airway Epithelia Are Chemosensory. Science 325:1131-1134. (Cover) *Equal contribution. (“Must read”, Faculty of 1000).

Ben-Shahar Y, Lu B, Collier DM, Snyder PM, Schnizler M and Welsh MJ. (2010) The Drosophila Gene CheB42a Is a Novel Modifier of Deg/ENaC Channel Function. PLOS One 5(2): e9395.

Ben-Shahar Y. (2011) Sensory functions for Degenerin/Epithelial sodium channels (DEG/ENaC). Advances in Genetics 76: 1-25.

Lu B, LaMora A, Sun Y, Welsh MJ and Ben-Shahar Y. (2012) ppk23-dependent chemosensory functions contribute to courtship behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genetics 8(3): e1002587.

Greenberg J*, Xia J, Zhang W, Thatcher S, Ament S, Newman T, Green P, Robinson GE and Ben-Shahar Y. (2012) Behavioral plasticity in honey bees is associated with major differences in brain microRNA transcriptome. Genes, Brain, and Behavior 6: 660-670. *Washington University undergraduate student.

Zelle KM*, Lu B*, Pyfrom SC and Ben-Shahar Y. (2013) The genetic architecture of Degenerin/epithelial sodium channels in DrosophilaGenes, Genomes, Genetics (G3) 3: 441–450. *Equal contribution

Nannapaneni K, Ben-Shahar Y, Keen HL, Welsh MJ, Casavant TL and Scheetz TE. (2013) Computational Identification of operon-like transcriptional loci in Eukaryotes. Computers in Biology and Medicine 43: 738–743

Ben-Shahar Y (2013) Genes, Brains, and behavior. In Moore A (Section Ed.), Losos J (Project Ed), The Princeton Guide to Evolution (pp. 609-615). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Gu X and Ben-Shahar Y. (2013) Olfactory receptors in human airway epithelia. In Crasto C (Ed.), Olfactory Receptors: Methods and Protocols. 1003:161-169 . New York, NY: Humana Press.

Gu X, Karp PH, Brody SL, Pierce RA, Welsh MJ, Holtzman MJ and Ben-Shahar Y (2014) Chemosensory functions for human pulmonary neuroendocrine cells. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 50:637-646.

Lu B, Zelle KM, Selzer R, Hefetz A and Ben-Shahar Y (2014) Feminization of pheromone-sensing neurons affects mating decisions in Drosophila males. Biology Open 3:152-160.

Zheng X, Valakh V, DiAntonio A and Ben-Shahar Y (2014) Natural antisense transcripts regulate the neuronal stress response and excitability. eLife 2014:3:e01849. 

Ben-Shahar Y (2014) A piggyBac route to transgenic honeybees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111:8708-8709.

Søvik E, LaMora A, Perry CJ, Barron AB and Ben-Shahar Y (2015) Negative impact of manganese on honey bee foraging. Biology Letters 11: 20140989.

Søvik E, Bloch G and Ben-Shahar Y (2015) Function and evolution of microRNAs in eusocial Hymenoptera. Frontiers in Genetics 6:193.

*McKinney RM, *Vernier C, and Ben-Shahar Y (2015) The neural basis for insect pheromonal communication. Current Opinions in Insect Science. 12:86-92. *Equal contribution. pdf

Ben-Shahar Y (2015) How nervous systems generate behavior: lessons from insects. Current Opinions in Insect Science. 12:v-vii. pdf