Welcome to the crablab at Illinois State University

One of the fundamental questions in Neuroscience is understanding how sensory pathways control neural circuit function to produce adequate behavioral responses in varying environmental conditions. The Stein lab uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neuromodulation of sensory pathways and motor circuits, exploiting the advantages of the central pattern generating circuits in the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion. Central pattern generators are sets of neurons that exist in most animals and control rhythmic behaviors, including walking, swimming, breathing and swallowing. In the stomatogastric ganglion, these neurons are easy to record from, they continue to function even if isolated from the animal, and their connectivity is known. 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.


  • PhD student Margaret DeMaegd wins University Scholarship Congrats to PhD student Margaret DeMaegd for being awarded the Robert Preston University Club Scholarship. The photo shows Maggie with Dr. Preston as she receives her award. 
    Posted by Wolfgang Stein
  • BSSA Research Symposium Proud of Saisu Talasu, High school student in the lab, and Maisam Yousef, undergraduate student, for presenting their research at the annual BSSA Research Symposium today. Maisam won 2nd place ...
    Posted Nov 20, 2019, 9:34 PM by Wolfgang Stein
  • MS student Josselyn Gonzalez speaking at the Charles Morris STEM Social for underrepresented students Josselyn volunteered at the 6th annual Charles Morris STEM Social for underrepresented students as a representative of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP). Josselyn talked about student opportunities ...
    Posted Nov 19, 2019, 9:35 AM by Wolfgang Stein
  • Calcium imaging video Finally a new video on our youtube channel. Calcium imaging of pacemaker neuropil activity in the stomatogastric ganglion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAqkxm8rD8k
    Posted Nov 7, 2019, 11:01 PM by Wolfgang Stein
  • PhD student Margaret DeMaegd at the Neural Systems and Behavior Course Margaret DeMaegd, PhD student in our lab, participated in this year's Neural Systems and Behavior Course. Our ISU news site had us featured: https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2019/10 ...
    Posted Nov 7, 2019, 10:53 PM by Wolfgang Stein
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