Dr Andrew Lin

Andrew Lin

Vice-Chancellor's Fellow

Department of Biomedical Science
University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
United Kingdom

Room: B2 222a  Alfred Denny building
Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 3643
Email: andrew.lin@sheffield.ac.uk

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Centre for Sensory Neuroscience

Brief career history

  • 2015 - present: Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Sheffield
  • 2009 - 2015: Postdoctoral fellow, University of Oxford. Advisor: Gero Miesenböck
  • 2004 - 2009: PhD, University of Cambridge. Advisor: Christine Holt
  • 2000 - 2004: AB Biology, Harvard University

Research interests

We study how the brain represents sensory information to allow it to store unique memories, using the olfactory system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system.

Full Publications


Olfactory sensory coding and memory

How does the brain recognise sensory stimuli? How does it form distinct memories for different stimuli, even very similar ones? And how does it wire itself up to process information in the best way to achieve these remarkable feats? Our research addresses these fundamental questions using the olfactory system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Flies have a much simpler nervous system than humans but are still capable of complex behaviours such as associative memory. This simplicity, combined with the power of fly genetics, makes Drosophila an excellent model system for tackling basic questions about neural circuit function.

Flies can form distinct associative memories for different odours, even very similar ones, and this stimulus-specificity depends on ‘sparse coding’, in which Kenyon cells, the neurons that encode olfactory associative memories, respond sparsely to odours, i.e. only a few neurons in the population respond to each odour. This sparse coding in turn depends on a delicate balance of excitation and inhibition onto Kenyon cells. We are studying how this balance is created and maintained. By improving our understanding of how the brain balances excitation and inhibition, this work may shed light on neurological disorders, like epilepsy, where this balance goes wrong.

Some methods we use:

  • In vivo two-photon imaging
  • Patch-clamp electrophysiology
  • Individual-fly behavioural experiments
  • Genetic manipulation of identified neurons
  • Transcriptional profiling
  • Computational modelling

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules


  • BMS109-153 Neuroscience
  • BMS248 Neural Circuits, Behaviour & Memory
  • Level 3 Practical and Dissertation Modules

Phd studentship opportunities

We advertise PhD opportunities (Funded or Self-Funded) on FindAPhD.com

For further information and details of other projects on offer, please see the department PhD Opportunities page:

PhD Opportunities

Selected publications

Journal articles