David McLean Assistant Professor

Research Summary

Development and plasticity of motor networks

Repetitive movements, like swimming or breathing, are generated by networks of rhythmically active neurons. We are interested in how rhythmic networks develop and produce movements of different speeds and intensities. To do this, we study the spinal networks controlling innate motor behaviors in developing zebrafish. Zebrafish provide a unique opportunity to combine imaging, electrophysiological and molecular approaches to examine the neural control of behavior in the living organism. By revealing common principles of organization, we hope to provide insights into disorders that affect our capacity to move, like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy or spinal injury.

Selected Publications

Selected Honors

  • 2011  Sloan Research Fellowship
  • 2010  Searle Scholar Award
  • 2009  Klingenstein Fellowship in the Neurosciences
  • 2009  Eppendorf and Science Prize for Neurobiology, Finalist
  • 2005  Human Frontier Science Program Short Term Fellowship
  • 2003  Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual National Research Service Award