Christopher M. Comer, Professor, Dean, LAS PhD
UIC Biological Sciences, 4283 SEL M/C 067
840 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607
Office: (312) 996-2992
Lab: (312) 355-0948
Fax: (312) 996-2805
Dr. Comer's lab web site
About Dr. Comer's Research
Research in my laboratory is in the area of sensorimotor integration, and we take a comparative and evolutionary approach to this important problem. We are specifically interested in how visual and touch-sensory systems encode information about the location of stimuli in the environment, and how that information is translated into commands for appropriately directed movements. This sort of translation is performed rapidly and efficiently by a nervous system every time an animal or a person turns to locate a sound, flicks their eyes to focus on something interesting, or turns away to evade something threatening. It is not known at present exactly how these translations are made, and my lab is trying to analyze how they happen at a detailed cellular level.
We have been analyzing the neural circuits underlying several specific spatially directed behaviors: A variety of techniques are used in our experiments - cellular electrophysiology, single cell enzymatic lesions, quantitative behavioral analyses and computer-based simulations to name a few. Projects include: 1) Mechanosensory and visual guidance of behavior in insects, 2) touch-sensory guidance of vertebrate orienting behavior in rodents (mole-rats), 3) "neuroinformatics" - the use of database resources to advance neurobiological research.
Baba, Y. and Comer, C (2007) The antennal motor system of cockroaches. Cell and Tissue Research, in press.
Crish, SD Dengler Crish, CM and Comer, CM (2006) Population coding strategies and involvement of the superior colliculus in the tactile orienting behavior of naked mole-rats. Neuroscience 139:1461-1466.
Comer, C.M. and Leung, V. (2004) The Vigilance of the Hunted: Mechanosensory-visual Integration in Insect Prey. A Chapter In: Complex Worlds from Simpler Nervous Systems, Ed. By F. Prete, MIT Press, pp 313-334.
Ye, S., Leung, V., Khan, A., Baba, Y. and Comer, C.M. (2003) The antennal system of the cockroach and evasive behavior. I. Roles for Visual and mechanosensory cues in the response. J. Comp. Physiol. 189:89-96.
Crish, S., Comer, C.M., Marasco, P.D. and Catania, K.C. (2003) A Tactile Tectum? Somatosensation in the Superior Colliculus of the Star-Nosed Mole. J. Comp. Neurol. 464:415-425.