My colleagues and I determine how networks of nerve cells produce different behaviors, and how these neuronal networks are established during embryogenesis. We use physiological, anatomical, computational, and embryological techniques to characterize these circuits in the relatively tractable nervous system of the medicinal leech.

Active projects include:

(1) using FRET-based voltage sensitive dyes to monitor many (~150) neurons at a time to map out the circuitry responsible for behaviors and to understand how different behaviors are chosen based on sensory stimulus and behavioral state

(2) identifying interneurons and understanding the role of inhibitory synaptic connections in local bending

(3) showing how spike number and spike timing code for location in local bending

(4) tracking developmental changes in electrical and chemical synaptic circuitry and relating them to the development of behaviors like local bending

(5) defining the role of electrotonic junctions in the formation of chemical synaptic connections

(6) characterizing the effects of peptide hormones on reproductive behaviors in the leech


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Division of Biology

Neurobiology Chair

3119 Pacific Hall

9500 Gilman Dr.

La Jolla, CA 92093

(858) 534-4760 (office)

(858) 534-4763 (Lab)


Edited and maintained by Vaibhav Konanur. Last edit on May 10 2010