/ Modified may 29, 2015 12:57 a.m.

About Bugs & Brains

Visit a UA lab where research into the learning and memory of insects and fish is being conducted.

brain image hermit crab spotlight Brain cells of the Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus), stained with a reduced silver method called Golgi impregnation.

The human brain is an advanced piece of hardware. What about the brains of creatures that accomplish amazing results with significantly less to work with?

Do you always know where to find the foods you like to eat, or the quickest way to get back home?

Human beings have a lot of ways to answer those questions even if we aren't sure. For animals, memorizing such information is vital to survival.

gabriella wolff portrait Gabriella Wolff

Until recently, not much was known about how the brains of invertebrate animals worked.

In the University of Arizona neurosciences laboratory of MacArthur Fellow Nicholas Strausfeld, experiments about brains function are being conducted. Fifth-year graduate student Gabriella Wolff is one of Strausfeld's key researchers.

Wolff studies the proteins the brain uses to learn and remember, and compares the size and shape of neurons across species, looking for commonalities. I asked her about some of her preferred lab animals to work with...


In the spring of 2015, Gabriella Wolff completed her thesis and graduated from the University of Arizona.

brain image sandworm spotlight Cross section of nerve bundles entering the brain of a sand worm (Nereis virens), stained with fluorescent dyes (three colors merged on right).
By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona