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Before You Swat That Fruit Fly...

Story by
Nancy Joseph
Michael Dickinson

Sure, they can be annoying uninvited guests. But bothersome fruit flies taking up residence in your kitchen have more going for them than meets the eye. Just ask UW scientist and MacArthur fellow Michael Dickinson.

Dickinson (PhD, zoology, 1989), Benjamin Hall Endowed Chair in Basic Life Sciences and professor of biology, has studied insects for years—in particular, insect flight and insects' abillity to process information required for flight—using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates neurobiology, biomechanics, aerodynamics, and behavior.

In a recent TED talk at Caltech, Dickinson spoke passionately and with humor about his research, using videos of flies in flight and referencing Donald Trump and chewing crabs. 

Flies may have brains smaller than a grain of salt, but after watching Dickinson's 15-minute TED talk, you may want to think twice before you swat.