Dr. Leonard J. Cleary
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
The goal of my research is to identify neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory, focusing on the tail withdrawal reflex of the mollusk Aplysia californica. Sensory and motor neurons underlying the reflex have been identified, and changes in their properties have been correlated with changes in the strength of the reflex. I am particularly interested in investigating changes in the structure of neurons, a phenomenon that has been correlated with some forms of learning. Some of these changes may be due to the action of growth factors acting in the adult nervous system. Finally, I am interested in identifying additional elements of the tail withdrawal circuit that may also be sites of synaptic plasticity.
A tutorial in this laboratory could give a student experience in intracellular recording from identified neurons, intracellular injection of dyes, and/or several morphological techniques, including immunofluorescence and conventional light and electron microscopy.