Explorations into the Brain and Behavior

About Me

I completed my PhD in the Program in Neuroscience at Harvard University under the co-supervision of Dr. Aravi Samuel and Dr. Ben de Bivort.  As a graduate student, I studied how the brain detects chemosensory stimuli, extracts and encodes relevant stimulus features, and integrates this information within and across modalities, using the Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) larva model system.   


I am now a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Joe Parker's lab at Caltech. My current research aims to investigate how animals evolve neural circuitry to interact adaptively with members of other species.  Specifically, I am using rove beetles to examine structural and functional changes in the chemosensory system that enable interspecies interactions. 


I enjoy working on interdisciplinary, collaborative projects within a community, so feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in collaborating on research, teaching, or outreach activities.  Aside from learning about brains, bugs, and the amazing behaviors of insects, I also enjoy Bhangra dancing, hiking outdoors, and experiencing new flavors, foods, and cultures.







Dr. Jessleen Kanwal (she/her)
California Institute of Technology
Biology & Biological Engineering 
225 Beckman Behavioral Biology
1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena