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Thomas Preuss

Ph.D., Dept. of Biological Cybernetics, University of Tübingen, Germany


Department of Psychology
Hunter College, Room 626A - HN
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
Tel: (212) 396-6358
Fax:(212) 772-5620

Preuss Lab Site

Current Areas of Research   

    Research in the lab focuses on mechanistic questions of neural decision-making and plasticity in sensorimotor systems. Specifically, we are studying how the environment modifies the expression of adaptive behaviors at the level of individual neurons.

     For this purpose, we use the Mauthner cell system of teleost fish, which mediates the startle escape behavior. This system is remarkable in that individual neurons and their connections are identifiable and can be investigated in vivo at the synaptic, cellular, and network levels. Moreover, the neural activity of these neurons can be directly linked to distinct aspects of the behavior, a rare opportunity in the vertebrate brain. In short, we study the neural basis of behavior and its modification at multiple levels of biological organization, from molecules to motor action.

     We employ a wide range of approaches including: high-speed video analysis of behavior, in vivo electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, immunohistochemistry, and neuropharmacology.  Most recently, we also use the Mauthner-cell system as an identifiable target for single-cell molecular biology.


Current projects focus on the Mauthner-cell escape system and include:

     I. To determine the neural mechanisms th