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Welcome to the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Beckman. Along with a cadre of undergraduate students here at Augsburg College I study the neural mechanism of movement in Daphnia magna
(see picture above). We employ genetics, developmental, pharmacological, and behavioral studies. Our main interest at the present time is determining the neurochemical basis for Daphnia magna
's movement. We have developed high-speed video recording methods to capture movies of Daphnia
in 2D and 3D. We use some freely available tracking software (CTRAX and TRACKER) to analyze Daphnia
movement. We also built and validated a method to study force production during the powerstroke associated with swimming. We have good evidence that a predominantly D2-like dopamine receptor agonist inhibits a variety of locomotor parameters like speed and total displacement, but also force production.
A second area of interest focuses on the genetic mechanism underlying the development of the cyclopean eye. The lab has cloned and characterized the hedgehog gene and done a number of experiments with hedgehog signaling inhibitors to determine whether this pathway is involved.
The work in the lab is driven by undergraduate students who work during the summer (URGO, McNAIR, LSAMP/STEM, Cargill) or during the semester as work study students. It is also possible to take a 2 credit directed research course. Interested students should contact Dr. Beckman at: