Welcome to the crablab at Illinois State University

The main research interests of the Stein lab focus on sensory processing and plasticity in motor networks and how sensory influences affect motor pattern selection and behavior. To study this, we use the stomatogastric nervous system of the crab Cancer borealis with its well-characterized central pattern generators as model system for the integration of sensory information and pattern selecting processes inside the nervous system. The main focus of our work is to determine how networks of neurons cope with complex and multimodal sensory input and how neuromodulatory neurons select the required patterns from multifunctional motor circuits to perform the adequate behavior. Methods used in the lab are manifold, including current and voltage clamp recordings, optical imaging, RNA and DNA extraction, and computer modeling.
The photo above shows a fluorescence staining of the stomatogastric ganglion and its 26 motor neurons. For details click here to read Goldsmith et al., 2014.


  • We viewed the total eclipse! The lab traveled south to watch the total eclipse. We were lucky that the few clouds decided to move just in time!We also collected crustaceans in Shawnee Forest. PI ...
    Posted Aug 25, 2017, 10:27 AM by Wolfgang Stein
  • Why is it important to support science and education? A few weeks ago, I participated with many friends and colleagues in the march for science. You can read my motivation here, or you can head over to Youtube ...
    Posted Jul 3, 2017, 2:49 PM by Wolfgang Stein
  • New review paper Our newest review paper on the stomatogastric nervous system is out: Stein, W. (2017). Stomatogastric Nervous System. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. http://neuroscience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore ...
    Posted May 1, 2017, 12:53 PM by Wolfgang Stein
  • Congratulations, Casey! Casey Gährs receives ISU Foundation award! Casey Gährs, MS student starting in the Vidal-Gadea and Stein labs in Fall 2017, was awarded a fellowship from the Illinois State University ...
    Posted Apr 28, 2017, 9:27 PM by Wolfgang Stein
  • Highschool Research Symposium We had a great time as poster judges at the ISU Highschool Research Symposium. Great posters be talented students!
    Posted Apr 28, 2017, 9:24 PM by Wolfgang Stein
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