Professor Catherine McCrohan
AV Hill Building|Oxford Road|Manchester|M13 9PT
Studies of invertebrate animals have long been used to increase our knowledge of how our own nervous system works. The reason such studies are useful is that the way nerve cells work is similar right across the animal kingdom, from invertebrates to humans. Invertebrates have many advantages for scientific study: they are cheap and easy to keep in the lab; their life cycle is usually short, enabling rapid genetic crossing work and studies of different developmental stages; and their simplicity - in terms of the total numbers of cells involved - makes their nervous systems much easier to study. One of the least understood of our senses is the sense of smell. In one study, we are using the simple ‘nose’ of the fruit fly larva (maggot) to study how a small number of sense cells can identify a large number of different odours. The larva’s nose has only 21 sense cells and we have studied each of these to find out which odours it can detect. We are currently investigating how the 21 nerve cells together ‘code’ for different odours. This includes building a computer model which mimics the coding of information that occurs in the nose.
- Hoare DJ, McCrohan CR, Cobb M. (2008). Precise and fuzzy coding by olfactory sensory neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(39), eScholarID:1c7892 | DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1955-08.2008
- White KN, Ejim AI, Walton RC, Brown AP, Jugdaohsingh R, Powell JJ, McCrohan CR. (2008). Avoidance of aluminum toxicity in freshwater snails involves intracellular silicon-aluminum bio-interaction. Environmental Science and Technology, 42(6), eScholarID:1c8210 | PMID:18409657 | DOI:10.1021/es7028608
- Potgieter, K., Hatcher, N., Gillette, R. & McCrohan, C (2010). Nitric oxide potentiates cAMP-gated cation current by intracellular acidification in feeding neurons of pleurobranchaea. J Neurophysiol, 104(2), 742-5. eScholarID:105258 | PMID:20484526 | DOI:10.1152/jn.00021.2010
- D.J. Hoare, J. Humble, D. Jin, N. Gilding, R. Petersen, M. Cobb, C.R. McCrohan. (2011). Modeling peripheral olfactory coding in Drosophila larvae. PLoS ONE, 6(8), e22996. eScholarID:130538 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022996