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Michael A. Simon
Graduate Research Area
Currently, I am trying to understand how the soft-bodied crawler, Manduca sexta, coordinates sophisticated locomotory patterns with numerous degrees of freedom using limited afferent feedback mechanisms. I am studying the role that a particular mechanoreceptor, the stretch receptor organ, has on various animal behaviors. This organ, which has similarities to the vertebrate intrafusal muscle fiber, may prove to serve a critical function in coordination of complicated behavior. A better understanding of how sensory feedback is used by the central nervous system during movement may lead us to a better understanding of how higher organisms, like humans, coordinate simple movements unconsciously.
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