Professor Vidal-Gadea to present on behavior of a nematode, October 31
Assistant Professor Andrés Vidal-Gadea, Ph.D., is a molecular neuroethologist at Illinois State University. He will present his team’s work on the genetic and cellular basis of behavior during his presentation, “Of Magnets and Muscles: Studying the Genetic and Cellular Basis of Natural Behavior and Disease.” Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend his seminar from 4–5 p.m. Thursday, October 31, in 210 Moulton Hall. This is part of the weekly School of Biological Sciences seminar series.
Behavior is the outcome of the interaction between an animal’s nervous system and its environment. To survive, animals detect relevant environmental information (sensation), process it in the context of their dynamic physiological needs (integration), and select and perform adaptive outputs (execution). Researchers in the Vidal-Gadea lab study the molecular and cellular bases of behavior and the disorders that impair its performance. His team pursues questions spanning across the components comprising behavior including how animals sense and orient to magnetic fields, and how muscular dystrophy alters muscle function.
Many animals detect and orient to the magnetic field of the earth. However, the biological mechanisms responsible for this behavior remain unknown. After discovering that the nematode C. elegans orients to the earth’s magnetic field and describing the first magneto-sensitive cells, the Vidal-Gadea lab is working to understand the behavioral, cellular, and molecular mechanisms used by animals to detect magnetic fields. Learning how animals detect magnetic fields and other environmental stimuli will help us understand the processes that guide the selection of meaningful behavior.
The Vidal-Gadea lab is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Vidal-Gadea received Illinois State’s Research Initiative Award in 2019 for his research program, and McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Professional Award in 2018 for his work introducing over 130 students to scientific research since starting his lab in 2015.
To further explore Vidal-Gadea’s work, read his papers “Physical Exertion Exacerbates Decline in the Musculature of an Animal Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy” and “Magnetosensitive Neurons Mediate Geomagnetic Orientation in Caenorhabditis Elegans,” or visit his lab website.