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Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program

Linda Hufnagel

Cell and Molecular Biology
(401) 874-5914

Anatomy of behavior in early-evolved nervous systems: We are engaged in imaging research on the neural networks and signaling pathways that control nematocyst discharge and tentacle contraction in the simple invertebrate model system, Hydra. We use immunocytochemistry to characterize the distribution of receptors for excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in Hydra's tentacles, in particular receptors for glutamate, GABA and glycine. Our analysis includes a) the use of published genomic and gene expression data, to identify and characterize glutamate receptors and their expression variants, b) fluorescence immunocytochemistry to analyze the nerve pathways underlying the glutathione-induced feeding response in Hydra, and c) in situ analysis of the expression of the glutamate NMDA receptor. Collaborators include: G. Kass-Simon and S. Irvine, Biological Sciences, URI; P. Pierobon, Institute for Cybernetics, Naples, Italy; O. Koizumi, Neurosc. Lab., Dept. Environ. Sci., Fukuoka Women's University, Japan.

Selected publications:

Kass-Simon G, Zompa M.A., Scappaticci A.A., Zackroff R.V. and Hufnagel L.A. (2009). Nucleolar binding of an anti-NMDA receptor antibody in hydra: a non-canonical role for an NMDA receptor protein? J. Exp. Zool., 311A:763-775. ( DOI: 10.1002/jez.563).

Hufnagel LA, Boisvert R., Danella C., Marcotte J., Tetreault D, and Kass-Simon G. (2009). Interactions between the hypostomal and tentacular nerve nets at the sub-tentacular, circumferential nerve plexus of Hydra vulgaris are revealed by immunocytochemistry with anti--tubulin antibody. Proc. Int. Wkshp. on The Evolution of Multicellularity: Insights from Hydra and other Basal Metazoans. Tutzing, Germany, Sept., p. 118.

Hufnagel LA, Acevedo S, Soucy B, Su K, Kass-Simon G. (2011). Circumferential Nerve Rings in the hypostome of Hydra vulgaris. Proc. Int. Wkshp on Searching for Eve: Basal Metazoans and the Evolution of Multicellular Complexity. Tutzing, Germany, P.127.

The Program

The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (INP) offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, or a Certificate in the Neurosciences. The program provides broad instruction across several neuroscience disciplines and gives students an opportunity to focus on a specific area of specialization.

Executive Committee Organizational Chart



Request for Proposals Rhode Island Neuroscience Collaborative Pilot Study Awards - Deadline for Applications: April15, 2014