Lynne A. Fieber

Assoc. Professor

Phone:
(305) 421-4906
Locator Code:
VK

 
About

Associate Professor, Department of Marine Biology and Ecology - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Lynne Fieber is Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Biology & Ecology. She studies the nervous system of marine animal models using behavioral, electrophysiological, and molecular techniques.

Career

Honors & Acknowledgements

Funding

Co-P. I. on NIH P40 OD010952, The National Resource for Aplysia (P. I.: Michael C.  Schmale); 2014-2019

Research

Although the nervous systems of marine animals, particularly marine invertebrates, are less complex than those of higher animals, this relative simplicity becomes an advantage when the aim is to elucidate essential mechanisms of nervous system function. An example is reflex aging: when a person is slower to react, as she ages, to having her kneecap tapped with a rubber hammer, which part of the circuit that involves the brain, nerves and muscles is the culprit? Marine animals can be used to address such questions when used as subjects of comparative physiology between humans and model animals.

My research emphasis for the last 10 years has been on the use of the herbivorous species Aplysia californica as a neural aging model. This animal lives for one year in the wild and in normal hatchery conditions. Its lifecycle can be accelerated, however, by increasing its seawater temperature, or decelerated by caloric restriction. Recently my students and I have developed an experimental strategy for our research that begins with reflex behaviors and the learning associated with these behaviors, expands to studies of the physiology of the underlying circuits of neurons in its brain, and then harvests the neurons to examine their gene expression. From this progression we obtain a fuller picture of the process of aging in the nervous system. We can draw conclusions about what types of aging-related changes accompany loss of memory or the ability to learn.