Although the nervous systems of marine animals, particularly marine invertebrates, are less complex than those of higher animals, this relative simplicity becomes an advantage when the aim is to elucidate essential mechanisms of nervous system function. An example is reflex aging: when a person is slower to react, as she ages, to having her kneecap tapped with a rubber hammer, which part of the circuit that involves the brain, nerves and muscles is the culprit? Marine animals can be used to address such questions when used as subjects of comparative physiology between humans and model animals. My laboratory studies the electrical function of single cells (neurons) or groups of neurons, from the nervous systems of fish and invertebrates. My students and I study the role of ion channels on cell membranes in cellular communication, using the technique of ion channel recording. We also use molecular biology tools to examine expression of genes related to nervous system communication. The protein molecules that compose these ion channels are remarkably similar in eukaryotes, and therefore marine animal models are relevant subjects for discovering how the brains of higher organisms function.
A. T. Kempsell and L. A. Fieber. 2015. Aging in sensory and motor neurons results in learning failure in Aplysia californica. PLoS ONE. 10(5): e0127056. doi:0.1371/journal.pone.0127056
A. T. Kempsell and L. A. Fieber. 2014. Behavioral aging is associated with reduced sensory neuron excitability in Aplysia californica. Front. Aging Neurosci. 6, 84. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00084
L. A. Fieber, S. L. Carlson, A. T. Kempsell, J. B. Greer and M. C. Schmale. 2013. Isolation of sensory neurons of Aplysia californica for patch clamp recordings of glutamatergic currents. J. Visual Exp 77:e50543, doi:10.3791/50543 PMC ID PMC3732093
S. L. Carlson, A. T. Kempsell and L. A. Fieber. 2012. Pharmacological evidence that D-Aspartate activates a current distinct from ionotropic glutamate receptor currents in Aplysia californica. Brain Behav. 2:391-401. DOI: 10.1002/brb3.60
J. A. Litz, C. R. Hughes, P. E. Rosel, L. A. Fieber, and L. P. Garrison. 2012. Genetic structure of coastal bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) inhabiting adjacent South Florida estuaries - Biscayne Bay and Florida Bay. J. Cetacean Res. Mgmt. 12:107-117.
S. L. Carlson and L. A. Fieber. 2012. Unique ionotropic receptors for D-Aspartate are a target for serotonin-induced synaptic plasticity in Aplysia californica, Comp. Biochem. Physiol C. 155:151-159. DOI:10.1016/j.cbpc.2011.04.001
S. L. Carlson and L. A. Fieber. 2011. Physiological evidence that D-Aspartate activates a current distinct from ionotropic glutamate receptor currents in Aplysia californica. J. Neurophysiol. 106:1629-1636. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00403.2011
L. A. Fieber, S. L. Carlson, T. R. Capo and M. C. Schmale. 2010. Changes in D-Aspartate ion currents in the Aplysia nervous system with aging. Brain Research 1343:28-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.05.001
H. Mao, L. A. Fieber and R. E. Gawley. 2010. Novel modulator of NaV1.1 and NaV1.2 Na+ channels in neuronal rat cells. ACS Medic. Chem. Lett. 1:135-138.
A. R. Hasan, L. Hu, H. M. Solo-Gabriele, L. Fieber, and Y. Cai. 2010.
Field-scale leaching of arsenic chromium and copper from weathered treated wood. Environ. Pollut. 158:1479–1486.
J. A. Litz, L. P. Garrison, L. A. Fieber, A. Martinez, J. P. Contillo and J. R. Kucklick. 2007. Fine-scale spatial variation of persistent organic pollutants in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Biscayne Bay, Florida. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41:7222-7228.