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Institute of Neuroscience Faculty

Shawn Lockery
Shawn Lockery
Professor, Department of Biology
B.A., 1981, Yale
Ph.D., 1989, University of California, San Diego

Research Interests
Neuronal basis of behavior

We study how the nervous system controls behavior by analyzing the neural networks that control chemotaxis and thermotaxis, simple forms of spatial orientation behavior, in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. We investigate how these networks function using a combination of experimental and theoretical approaches. We track the movements of normal and mutant worms at high spatial and temporal resolution to determine the behavioral strategies underlying spatial orientation in C. elegans. Individual neurons in the networks are killed with a laser microbeam to identify their role in behavior. Patch-clamp recordings are made from normal and mutant animals to determine how the electrical properties of neurons influence network function. We also make optical recordings in freely moving animals to correlate neuronal activity patterns and behavior; these experiments are facilitated by microfluidic devices to control the worm's local environment. Data generated by the experimental approaches are synthesized in theoretical models of the spatial orientation networks. Predictions from the models are tested experimentally and the results are used to improve our theoretical understanding of the function of biological networks. These results provide new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of information processing underlying animal behavior.


Concentration clamp movie
Simultaneous recording of neuronal activity and behavior

Representative Publications

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University of Oregon

Last Updated 2/29/2012 -