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Dr. Bruce Carlson is an Associate Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University. He then completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Virginia and Cornell University. Bruce is with us today to tell us about his journey through life and science.
Nervous systems evolved to control behavior. A primary function of nervous systems is to receive and process information from the outside world, and then act on that information in ways that maximize survival and reproduction. Bruce’s lab uses an integrative approach to study animal communication and the evolution of sensory processing, using weakly electric fishes as a model system. Their work is unique in its application of detailed neurophysiology within a comparative behavioral framework, and it has implications for our understanding of neural mechanisms for behavior as well as the evolution of behavioral diversity. Bruce employs a wide range of techniques, including in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, anatomy and histology, neuronal imaging, computational modeling, behavioral observation and playback, molecular phylogenetics, population genetics, and field work.