Date of Award
Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
Type of Degree
Dr. Mary-Louise Risher, co-chair
Dr. Sasha Zill, co-chair
Dr. Eric Blough
Dr. Michael Norton
Dr. Brandon Henderson
Posture and walking require support of the body weight, which is thought to be detected by sensory receptors in the legs. Specificity in sensory encoding occurs through the morphological properties of the sense organs (numerical distribution, receptor size) and their physiological response characteristics. These studies focus upon campaniform sensilla, receptors that detect forces as strains in the insect exoskeleton. To study the morphology of campaniform sensilla, the sites of mechanotransduction (cuticular caps) were imaged by light and confocal microscopy in four species (stick insects, cockroaches, blow flies and Drosophila). These data indicate that the gradient (range) of cap sizes may most closely correlate with the body weight. These studies support the idea that morphological properties of force-detecting sensory receptors in the legs may be tuned to reflect the body weight. Overall, this study indicates that the morphological properties of the sense organs are specifically tuned to provide information needed for postural stability and successful locomotion.
Insects – Nervous System – Research.
Rodents – Nervous System – Research.
Harris, Christian Michelle, "Application of Confocal Microscopy To Study the Neural Mechanisms Underlying Insect and Rodent Behavior" (2022). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1450.