Western University BiologyWestern Science

Biology welcomes new faculty members Anne Simon and David Smith

Anne Simon


Anne Simon

Anne obtained her Ph.D. in Paris, France in 1998, in the laboratory of Thomas Préat, an internationally known specialist in the field of learning and memory in Drosophila. She studied the effect on adult central brain structure and development of a mutation affecting learning and memory. She pursued a post-doctoral training in the field of fly behavior in the laboratory of Seymour Benzer, the father of behavioral genetics. During her time on his team, she discovered that steroid hormones in Drosophila control adult behavior and longevity.

To broaden her exposure to research directly relevant to human health and disease, she then worked in a human genetics lab for a year at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This experience allowed Anne to think more clearly about how the fly can be used to solve problems relevant to human behavioral disorders. In the next step of her career, as an assistant Research Faculty at UCLA in the team of David Krantz, an expert in the study of monoamine neurotransmission, she specifically studied the effect of mutations of VMAT on controlling monoamine levels and various aspects of adult behavior. She also designed new paradigms to study social behavior in the fruit fly.

In 2008, Anne changed coasts to pursue these projects, conducted by undergraduate researchers in her lab at York College of the City University of New-York, a teaching-oriented institution, where she spent the past 5 years.

Anne had been interested in teaching and mentoring for many years, and she is committed to incorporating both teaching and research. Her work at Western University will focus on dissecting the mechanisms underlying the “space bubble,” i.e., the comfort zone, or social distance between two individuals, while teaching Cell Biology and Genetics courses. [read more]
David Smith


David Smith

David completed his undergraduate studies at Acadia University, a small liberal arts college in rural Nova Scotia, and then moved an hour’s drive down the road to Dalhousie University for his PhD. His doctoral work explored the bizarre and eccentric organelle genomes of green algae and land plants. David continued his studies on genome architecture in algae as an NSERC and Killam postdoctoral scholar in the Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia. David’s research program at Western will focus on genetic diversity and genome evolution in microbial eukaryotes, with particular focus on species that have lost the ability to perform photosynthesis, such as Polytomella—David’s all-time favorite organism. [read more]
Posted September 11, 2013