Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Research Professor Emerita, Department of Biology
Not taking students
My laboratory uses the stomatogastric ganglion of crabs and lobsters (a small and well-defined motor circuit) as a model system for study of the mechanisms that underlie the functional plasticity of neurons and of animal behaviors. The neurons that we study are both motorneurons and part of several pattern generating circuits. Neuromodulator inputs can alter the properties of the cells and their synaptic and electrical interactions within the larger neural network, reconfiguring the network for different motor outputs. The questions we ask include; what are the "baseline" properties of the different neurons and how do the modulator transmitters reconfigure cell properties and thereby change circuit function.
The techniques used in my lab include: intracellular recording, voltage clamp, and calcium imaging from neurons either in ganglia or in cell culture; immunohistochemistry and intracellular dye injection for neuron reconstruction using confocal microscopy and electron microscopy; and mathematical models of neuron and network function. Current research is on the role of the second messenger, cyclic GMP, in the develpment and modulation of the stomatogastric nervous system and on the types, distribution, and functioning of the calcium channels of stomatogastric neurons.