Maria de la Paz Fernandez, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Maria de la Paz Fernandez joined the Barnard faculty in 2019. Research in her lab is focused on the neural mechanisms underlying aggressive behavior and territoriality and the relation between the circadian clock and social behaviors, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system.

Dr. Fernandez did her postdoctoral training at the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, and then joined the IBioBA-Max Planck Partner Institute of Buenos Aires as a group leader.

She is the head of the Behavioral Neurobiology Laboratory and teaches Neurobiology of Social Behaviors and Introduction to Neuroscience.

Academic Focus:

Neuronal Control of Aggressive Behavior

Sexual Dimorphism in Behavior

Sleep-Wake Cycles

Awards and Honors

Harvard University - Derek Bok Center Teaching Award                                                                         2012

Harvard University - Derek Bok Center Teaching Award                                                                         2011

Young Investigator Award, International Society for Neuroethology                                                       2010

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Alice and Joseph Brooks Fund Award, Harvard Medical School                     2009

Pew Fellow, Pew Program in the Biomedical Sciences                                                                             2008

Selected Publications:

Kravitz EA and Fernández MP* (2015). Aggression in Drosophila. Behavioral Neuroscience 129(5):549-563.

* Co-Corresponding Author.

Alekseyenko OV, Chan YB, Fernández MP, Bülow T, Pankratz MJ, Kravitz EA (2014). Single Serotonergic Neurons that Modulate Aggression in Drosophila. Current Biology 24:2700-7.

Andrews JC, Fernández MP, Yu Q, Leary GP, Leung AK, Kavanaugh MP, Kravitz EA, Certel SJ (2014). Octopamine neuromodulation regulates gr32a-linked aggression and courtship pathways in Drosophila males. PLoS Genetics 10(5):e1004356.

Fernández MP* and Kravitz EA (2013). Aggression and courtship in Drosophila: pheromonal communication and sex recognition. Journal of Comparative Physiology. 199:1065-76

*Corresponding Author.

Fernández MP*, Chan YB, Yew JY, Billeter J-C, Dreisewerd K, Levine JD and Kravitz EA (2010). Pheromonal and Behavioral Cues Trigger Male-to-Female Aggression in Drosophila. PLoS Biology 8(11): e1000541.

* Corresponding Author.

Fernández MP, Berni J and Ceriani MF (2008). Circadian remodeling of neuronal circuits involved in rhythmic behavior. PLoS Biology 6 (3):69

Stoleru D, Nawathean P, Fernández MP, Menet JS, Ceriani MF and Rosbash M (2007). The Drosophila circadian network is a seasonal timer. Cell 129: 207-219.

Fernández MP, Chu J, Villella A, Atkinson N, Kay SA and Ceriani MF (2007). Impaired clock output by altered connectivity in the circadian network. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104: 5650-5655


Department: Neuroscience and Behavior

Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

Post-Doctorate (2008-2013)

School of Exact and Natural Sciences, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Ph.D., Biological Sciences (2008)

Department of Science and Technology, Universidad de Quilmes (Argentina)

B.Sc. Biotechnology (2002)

Related Websites:
Fernandez Lab (in progress)