Graduate Students

Dr. Blitz is a member of the Biology Graduate Program and the Cell, Molecular and Structural Biology Graduate Program. Students interested in neural circuits, motor systems and neural plasticity are encouraged to apply to either program.

Ryan and Savanna happy to be getting electrophysiology experiments going in the new “rig room”.

The Blitz lab is interested in how animals produce different versions of behaviors.  For instance, what are the signals that inform the central nervous system that an animal should walk instead of run, or that food consistency has changed and they should produce a different version of chewing?  We aim to understand the changes in properties of individual neurons and their synaptic connections that enable the same neural circuits to produce different motor outputs, and thus different versions of behaviors.

Ongoing research includes determining the (1) role of circuit feedback to circuit inputs, (2) anatomical and functional organization of sensory inputs and (3) cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying switching between different motor outputs.  We address these questions at multiple levels from single neurons to circuits to muscle activity patterns.  To address these issues, we use the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system, due to its many experimental advantages and the fact that it operates comparably to larger, mammalian circuits.  Our electrophysiological approaches include extracellular and intracellular recordings from identified neurons and muscles (e.g., current-, voltage-, and dynamic-clamp recording techniques). We combine these techniques with anatomical approaches (e.g., immunocytochemistry, single neuron dye-fills, tract tracing and confocal microscopy) to better understand how the nervous system selects appropriate motor outputs.

John’s first dissection in the new lab space!

Students accepted into the program will be supported by a graduate student stipend and tuition waver. Please contact Dr. Blitz for further information on potential projects and/or application information.

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Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students are always encouraged to apply. Students have the opportunity to gain research and proposal writing experience, work on current projects in the lab, contribute to manuscripts and attend regional and national meetings to present their findings. Dr. Blitz also participates in the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Contact Dr. Blitz for specific information regarding post-doctoral fellowship positions or if interested in any of the above opportunities.

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