Trevor Wardill headshot
Office Address

1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States



Assistant Professor
Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

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Research statement

Dr. Wardill investigates information processing during visually guided behaviours in invertebrate species. The Wardill Lab studies how relevant information is extracted from visual scenes and used for appropriate behaviour.  For example, what are the general principles that neurons use for extracting motion, colour, shape and polarization. The lab aims to understand the neural basis for dynamic skin signaling in cephalopods and visual feature extraction in flies. 

The Wardill Lab use the model animal, Drosophila melanogaster to identify visual circuit components and then apply the knowledge gained (from genetic, physiology and behavioural experiments) to locate analogous circuits in other fly species, such as Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) and Killer flies (Coenosia attenuata). Taking this comparative approach allows us to reveal general principles of circuit function. The lab also investigates how cephalopods detect and express various forms of signals on their skin (movement, colour, pattern, polarization, and 3D shapes). This research is currently in collaboration with Roger Hanlon at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA. The lab uses advanced methods in genetics, 2-photon imaging and behavioural quantification and are seeking interest from PhD students. 

Selected publications

Wardill TJ, Fabian ST, Pettigrew A, Stavenga D, Nordström K, Gonzalez-Bellido PT, (2017), A novel interception strategy in a miniature robber fly with extreme visual acuityCurrent Biology 27: 1-6

Wardill TJ, Knowles K, Barlow L, Tapia G, Nordström K, Olberg RM and Gonzalez-Bellido PT, (2015), The killer fly hunger games: Target size and speed predicts decision to pursuitBrain Behav. Evol. , 86: 28-37

Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ, Buresch KC, Ulmer KM, Hanlon RT, (2014), Expression of squid iridescence depends on environmental luminance and peripheral ganglion controlJ Exp Biol, 217(Pt 6):850-8

Akerboom J, Carreras Calderón N, Tian L, Wabnig S, Prigge M, Tolö J, Gordus A, Orger MB, Severi KE, Macklin JJ, Patel R, Pulver SR, Wardill TJ, Fischer E, Schüler C, Chen TW, Sarkisyan KS, Marvin JS, Bargmann CI, Kim DS, Kügler S, Lagnado L, Hegemann P, Gottschalk A, Schreiter ER, Looger LL, (2013), Genetically encoded calcium indicators for multi-color neural activity imaging and combination with optogeneticsFront Mol Neurosci, 6:2

Chen TW, Wardill TJ, Sun Y, Pulver SR, Renninger SL, Baohan A, Schreiter ER, Kerr RA, Orger MB, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS, (2013), Ultrasensitive fluorescent proteins for imaging neuronal activityNature, 499(7458):295-300

Wardill TJ, Chen TW, Schreiter ER, Hasseman JP, Tsegaye G, Fosque BF, Behnam R, Shields BC, Ramirez M, Kimmel BE, Kerr RA, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS, (2013), A neuron-based screening platform for optimizing genetically-encoded calcium indicatorsPLoS One, 8(10):e77728

Akerboom J, Chen TW, Wardill TJ, Tian L, Marvin JS, Mutlu S, Calderón NC, Esposti F, Borghuis BG, Sun XR, Gordus A, Orger MB, Portugues R, Engert F, Macklin JJ, Filosa A, Aggarwal A, Kerr RA, Takagi R, Kracun S, Shigetomi E, Khakh BS, Baier H, Lagnado L, Wang SS, Bargmann CI, Kimmel BE, Jayaraman V, Svoboda K, Kim DS, Schreiter ER, Looger LL, (2012), Optimization of a GCaMP calcium indicator for neural activity imaging, J Neurosci, 32(40):13819-40

Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ, (2012), Labeling and confocal imaging of neurons in thick invertebrate tissue samplesCold Spring Harb Protoc, 2012(9):969-83

Wardill TJ, Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Crook RJ, Hanlon RT, (2012), Neural control of tuneable skin iridescence in squidProc Biol Sci, 279(1745):4243-52

Wardill TJ, List O, Li X, Dongre S, McCulloch M, Ting CY, O'Kane CJ, Tang S, Lee CH, Hardie RC, Juusola M, (2012), Multiple spectral inputs improve motion discrimination in the Drosophila visual systemScience, 336(6083):925-31

Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ, Juusola M, (2011), Compound eyes and retinal information processing in miniature dipteran species match their specific ecological demandsProc Natl Acad Sci USA, 108(10):4224-9

Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ, Kostyleva R, Meinertzhagen IA, Juusola M, (2009), Overexpressing temperature-sensitive dynamin decelerates phototransduction and bundles microtubules in Drosophila photoreceptorsJ Neurosci, 29(45):14199-210

Nikolaev A, Zheng L, Wardill TJ, O'Kane CJ, de Polavieja GG, Juusola M, (2009), Network adaptation improves temporal representation of naturalistic stimuli in Drosophila eye: II mechanismsPLoS One, 4(1):e4306

Zheng L, Nikolaev A, Wardill TJ, O'Kane CJ, de Polavieja GG, Juusola M, (2009), Network adaptation improves temporal representation of naturalistic stimuli in Drosophila eye: I dynamicsPLoS One, 4(1):e4307


Ph.D. University of Queensland 2006