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Sweeney Group

Research Interests

Evolution, Development, and Function of Motor Circuits

Research Area

Movement is fundamental to nearly every animal behavior: to escape predators, to eat and breathe, animals must move. The Sweeney Group aims to define the molecular, cellular and neural circuit components that underlie differences in motor behavior, and to explore how such differences arise during an organism’s development. The group uses the Xenopus frog to address these fundamental questions. The frog undergoes metamorphosis, transitioning from a swimming tadpole to a walking frog during development. The Sweeney Group exploits this transition and categorizes, compares and manipulates frog neurons at each stage. This allows the scientists to map variations in cellular properties and neural circuit structure onto differences in motor behavior. Knowledge about such cell-circuit-behavior relationships in the frog will provide a basis for comparing motor circuits between tetrapods, understanding how motor circuits evolved from swimming to walking during evolution, and pinpointing how motor circuits break down in movement disorders.

Current Members

Sweeney, Lora B (Principal Investigator/Director) Contact


Institution: Institute of Science and Technology Aust

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