My lab studies how neural networks in the lumbar spinal cord of mammals control stepping, and how this stepping pattern is modified by imposing specific motor tasks on the limbs after spinal cord injury. We have learned that load-bearing sensory information can serve as the controller of these tasks and that performance can be further improved with pharmacological interventions and stimulation of the spinal cord.
The Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology (formerly the Department of Physiological Science) is dedicated to explaining the function of complex biological systems, in cells, organs, and individuals. The recent rapid advances in molecular and cell biology and genetics, including the sequencing of numerous genomes, has provided an unprecedented opportunity to use this new information to understand how the genes interact to produce emergent phenotypes in complex systems. The research of our faculty spans many levels. We use approaches that range from RNA interference to ion channel electrophysiology to genetic intervention in behavior to mathematical modeling to robotics, all to make sense of sensory, motor, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
At the undergraduate level, the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology offers the B.S. degree in Physiological Science, and contributes strongly to the
Interdepartmental Undergraduate Program in
Neuroscience. The Department also offers a 2-year research-oriented M.S. program in Physiological Science. Ph.D. students in the Department come from a variety of interdepartmental programs, including, the Ph.D. Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology, and the Interdepartment Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience.