Associate Professor of Biology
B.A. - Amherst College
Ph.D. - Northwestern University
Phone - 434-284-0543
Fax - 540-568-3333
Office - Bioscience 2028H
Courses: Human Physiology (BIO 270), Animal Physiology (BIO 370), Neurobiology (BIO 445)
Research Interests: Neurobiology - elucidation of the principles by which sensory information is transformed into movement using the simple spinal reflexes in rats.
The overall goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the principles by which sensory information is transformed into movement. More specifically, we investigate simple spinal reflexes in rats. Our research currently has two focuses: 1) The nervous systems of young animals is remarkably sensitive to sensory stimulation. For example, placing a patch over a kitten's eye for as little as one week early in life causes permanent blindness in that eye. Similarly, we have found that a brief injury to the foot of neonatal rats can lead to permanent increases in the rat's pain sensitivity as an adult. Current studies are designed to determine the underlying neural mechanisms and functional significance. Our results may impact the care of premature infants who typically experience pain in the neonatal intensive care unit. 2) When we touch a hot saucepan we rapidly remove our hand to prevent injury. The movement is a spinal reflex known as the flexion withdrawal reflex. Surprisingly, the direction of movement is not always directly away from the injurious stimuli. Our research studies the spatial transformation between stimulus location and movement direction for flexion withdrawal reflexes of the rat tail.
Selected Publications: *undergraduate co-author
Cleland, C.L. and *Bauer, R.E. (2002) Spatial transformations in the withdrawal response of the tail in intact and spinalized rats. Journal of Neuroscence -Rapid Communications, 22:5265-5270
Cleland, C.L. (2002) Integrating recent advances in neuroscience into undergraduate neuroscience and physiology classes. Advances in Physiological Education, 26:271-277.
Silva, E., Cleland, C.L. and Gebhart, G.F. (1997) Contributions of NMDA receptors to mustard oil induced hyperalgesia in the spinalized rat, Experimental Brain Research, 117:379-388
Jiang, M.C., Cleland, C.L. and Gebhart, G.F. (1995) Cellular properties of dorsal horn neurons in vivo. Journal of Neurophysiology, 74:1819-1827