Fernandez

On May 7, 2020, Maria de la Paz Fernández, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, published a study on the function of circadian network neurons and their daily structural changes. 

The online science news aggregate Mindzilla covered the study and wrote:

Some segments of the neurons in these regions undergo daily remodeling, displaying a highly branched structure at the beginning of the day and a simpler structure at the beginning of the night. Scientists previously believed that these segments — called the dorsal medial termini — served a critical output function, sending signals that tell the fruit fly’s brain what time of day it is. But the research team discovered that they actually serve in an input capacity, receiving cues from the external environment about the time of day.

Fernández had noted the neuron's structural capacity for this function, but told Mindzilla she was "surprised to see that this site of plasticity seems to be involved in input, rather than output, pathways.” Understanding how individual's inner clocks work could help researchers better tackle health problems, like obesity and cancer.