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Spineless Neuroscience Forum

This is an informal venue for faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates from any university in the Atlanta area who are interested in discussing the dynamics of neural systems in the broadest sense (not solely invertebrate physiology), especially involving ethology, biomechanics, physiology, bioinformatics, and dynamical systems modeling. In Atlanta, we have a particular concentration of researchers interested in this field who benefit from getting together periodically to discuss their research results and techniques. The format of our meetings is very flexible, but often involves shorter-format informal presentations (20 or 40 mins) that encourage both specific and broader discussion afterward. To do this, presentations should focus on interesting observations and questions arising in a lab's work while it is still in progress, and pose some open-ended points for discussion.

Day and Time: The last Friday of each month at 10:00-11:00 am  unless otherwise specified below
Location: 124 Petit Science Center, Georgia State University (building #26 on the campus map)

Visitor parking is available at decks N, K, S, M, and G (see parking map), when space is available. Decks N, K, and S are closest to the Petit Science Center.

To get announcements of upcoming meetings, join the list server for the Spineless Neuroscience Forum. (Also use this link to leave the mailing list.)
For more information, contact Dr. Gennady Cymbalyuk ( 

Schedule for Spring 2015 - please contact me to sign up!

  • January 30 - Daniel Cox at 10:00 am
  • "Systems Neuroscience Driven Exploration of Dendrite Development and Nociceptive Behavior"
  • February 27 - Eva Fischer at 10:00 am
  • "Flexibility and constraint in the evolution of gene expression and behavior"
  • Dept of Biology, Colorado State University

  • March 27 - Richard Francis Campbell at 10:00 am
  • "Isoforms, transcription, and differentiation of GABAergic motor neurons in C. elegans"
  • William Walthal's Lab., GSU

Schedule for Fall 2014 - please contact me to sign up!
  • Sept 26 - Liana Artinian
  • "Intracellular calcium release from ryanodine channels controls regenerative spiking in Helisoma B5 neurons"
    Vincent Rehder’s Lab, GSU
  • Oct 24 at 8:55 (change of time)
  • Adriano Senatore
  • "The next-gen sequencing era: Accelerating insights into how the neuromuscular system evolved." Paul Katz Lab, GSU
  • Nov 21 at 9:30 (usual time)
  • Bryce Chung, J. Collens, and R. Clewley
  • "Mechanisms of Pathological Phenotypes in a Mouse Myocyte Model."
Schedule  for Fall 2013 - please contact me to sign up!
  • Sept 6 - Donald Edwards "The Role of Reafference in Posture and Locomotion Studied with a Brain-Computer Interface"
  • Oct 4  - Alexander Klishko "Stabilization of cat paw trajectory during locomotion"  Boris Prilutsky's Lab, GaTech
  • Nov 1 - Timothy Balmer "Visual experience regulates plasticity in developing visual circuits through plasticity in GABA mediated synaptic transmission" Sarah Pallas's Lab, GSU
Schedule for Spring 2014 - please contact me to sign up!
  • Feb 14  - William Walthall  "Neuromuscular Junction Development in C. elegans: Roles for Nature and Nurture"
  • March 7   - "The role of the Na+/K+ pump in motor pattern generation: Experiments and Modeling" joint presentation by Daniel Kueh (Calabrese Lab, Emory) and William Barnett (Cymbalyuk Lab, GSU) 
  • Apr 4   -
  • May 2  - Peter Wenner  "Synaptic scaling: Does it actually regulate spiking homeostatically?"

Previous Spineless Meetings

[ Videos of the Long View Seminars are available on line at the CBN website. ]

Spring 2013

  • Feb 1 - Postponed due to graduate recruitment day.
  • Mar 1 - Manfred Schmidt (Chuck Derby lab, GSU). "The crustacean olfactory pathway: recent progress in peripheral and central aspects."
  • Apr 5 - Brains & Behavior Retreat day
  • May 3 - Katsushi Kagaya, UMass Amherst (Patek lab, Dept. of Biology). "Preparation for voluntary initiation of movement: a neuronal circuit shaping preparatory activity in crayfish".
    • Abstract: Preparatory neural activities before voluntary movements can be recorded in many brain areas including higher motor areas in primates and rodents. However, the synaptic mechanisms at the neural circuit level is unknown because of difficulty in intracellular recording from freely moving animal. Applying intracellular recording and staining techniques to freely walking crayfish on a spherical treadmill, I found neurons showing readiness synaptic activities in the brain before the initiation of walking without any definable stimuli. The activity and anatomical feature of the neurons suggest a recurrent neuronal circuit underlying the preparation for voluntary movement.

  Fall 2012

  • Sep 7 - Marc Weissburg, GA Tech. "Sensory strategies for guidance in turbulent plumes". See
  • Oct 5 - Craig Forest, GA Tech. “Automated patch clamp electrophysiology of neurons in the living brain". See
    • Abstract: Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology of neurons in vivo enables the recording of electrical events in cells with great precision, and supports a wide diversity of cellular morphological and molecular analysis experiments. However, high levels of skill are required in order to perform in vivo patching, and the process is time-consuming and painstaking. An automated in vivo patching robot would not only empower a great number of neuroscientists to perform such experiments, but would also open up fundamentally new kinds of experiment enabled by the resultant high throughput. We discovered that in vivo blind whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology could be implemented as a straightforward algorithm, and developed an automated robotic system capable of performing this algorithm. We validated the performance of our robot in both the cortex and hippocampus of anesthetized mice. Our robot achieves yields, cell recording qualities, and operational speeds that are comparable to, or exceed, those of experienced human investigators, and is simple and inexpensive to implement.
  • Nov 2 - You are invited to join us at the GSU Biology Department seminar, where Patrick McGrath (GA Tech, Dept. of Biology) will speak on "Identification of the genetic and cellular basis of changes in a neural decision caused by domestication of C. elegans." This seminar is at 9:20am in General Classroom Building 600 (building #12 on the campus map).
  • Dec 7 - Damon Lamb, Anca Doloc (Calabrese lab, Emory) and Dieter Jaeger will lead a mini-symposium of introductions to compartmental neuron modeling and information about recent developments. NOTE THIS WILL BE HOSTED AT EMORY THIS MONTH and starts at 9:30am!

Spring 2012

  • Jan 27 - Astrid Prinz lab (Emory)
    1) Santiago Archila: Synaptic plasticity in the pyloric network of the crab Cancer borealis
    2) Amber Hudson: Degradation of extracellular matrix components alters homeostatic maintenance of rhythmic activity
    3) Wafa Soofi: Effect of intrinsic membrane conductances on PRCs
    4) Cengiz Gunay: Computational modeling of persistent sodium current contribution to motoneuron activity in Drosophila seizure mutants
  • Feb 17 - Andrey Shilnikov lab (GSU)
    1) Jeremy Wojcik: 3 cell CPGs with inhibitory and excitatory synapses using fast threshold modulation
    2) Aaron Kelley and Joe Youker: Reduced-phase CPG models
    3) Enis Gunay: Electronic circuit implementations of CPGs
    4) Sajiya Jalil and Dane Allen: A four neuron CPG model for swimming behavior in Melibe
  • Mar 16 - Paul Katz (GSU): Comparing neural circuits - things you only tell your friends

Fall 2012

  • Oct 14 - Discussion of NSF graduate fellowship award idea for Yogi Patel (Butera Lab) + PI introductions
  • Nov - Cancelled due to SfN
  • Dec 9 - Lab of Don Edwards, GSU: The Role and Control of Reafference in Posture and Locomotion

Spring 2011

  • Jan 14 - postponed due to weather
  • Feb 11 - minisymposium postponed, but consider attending this instead, at the GSU CS department:
    Carmen Canavier
    (LSU): Synchronization and phase locking in networks of pulse coupled nonlinear neural oscillators
  • Mar 11 - Manfred Schmidt (Derby lab, GSU), Adrian Wolstenholme (UGA): Mini-symposium on Imaging
  • Apr 8 - Angela Wenning (Emory): Bringing up the rear: A new quartet of Interneurons completes the Leech Heartbeat Central Pattern Generator
  • May 13 - Dieter Jaeger (Emory) and others: Mini-symposium for dynamic clamp technique
    1)      10:00 General Introduction,  Dieter Jaeger, 3 min.
    2)      10:05 Risa Lin.    Introduction to Dynamic Clamp w/ Live RTXI Demo
    3)      10:30 Ron Calabrese.   Using dynamic clamp  to analyze the role of synaptic input in controlling motor output.
    4)      10:50  Astrid Prinz.  Dynamic Clamp in Phase Response Analysis of Hybrid and Natural Neuronal Networks
    5)      11:10  Dieter Jaeger.  Dynamic clamp of SK current in DCN neurons

Fall 2010

  • Sept 17
    •  Brief lab introductions, discussion of meeting format, other new business.
    •  Discussion about making an inter-institutional proposal to host CNS*2012 Computational Neuroscience Meeting in Atlanta.
    •  Presentation by Josh Lilvis (Katz lab, GSU): "Species differences in serotonergic neuromodulation of homologous neurons related to locomotor behavior."
  • Oct 8 - Mini-symposium on Introductory "phase plane" analysis techniques for neural modeling.
    • Robert Clewley: "I-V curves and nullclines"
    • Andrey Shilnikov: "Phase dynamics and phase oscillators"
  • Nov 19 - (PLEASE NOTE: date moved from 12th this month to avoid Society for Neuroscience meeting)
    •  20 min talk 1: Juan Aggio (Derby lab, GSU): "To eat or not to eat: mechanisms of chemical deterrence in food rejection in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus"
    •  20 min talk 2: Don Edwards: "Approaches to closing the loop in studies of posture and locomotion in crayfish"
  • Dec 10 - (postponed) Bill Walthal and Manfred Schmidt (Derby lab) will each talk about developments in imaging. Details TBA soon!

Spring 2010 

  • Jan 8 - 441 Natural Science Center - Ron Calabrese, Emory University - "Given all that variability in parameters, what can we expect from a CPG's output?"
  • Feb 12 - Adrian Wolstenholme and Sally Williamson, University of Georgia - 'Ion channels of nematodes as drug targets'
  • Mar 12 - Rob Clewley and Mirza Dobric, Georgia State University - "Novel optimization techniques for improving qualitative features of neural models based on ion channel kinetics"
  • Apr 9 - Liana Artinian, Georgia State University - "Insider activity sets the stage: how intrinsic nitric oxide synthase controls neuronal activity."
  • May 14 - Andrey Olifer, Emory University "Geometry and dynamics of activity-dependent homeostatic regulation in neurons."


  • Jan 16 Manfred Schmidt "Tegumental glands and grooming in decapod crustaceans: A functional link?"
  • Feb 13 Don Edwards "Neuro-biomechanical analysis of alpha-gamma coactivation in human arm movements."
  • March 13 Andrey Shilnikov  "Polyrhythms  in networking motifs" 
  • April 10 Mukesh Dhamala "Time delays in Neural Systems"
    •  I plan to discuss the effects of axonal conduction delays (propagation delays) in synchronization of coupled bursting neurons. We see very interesting effects: cessations of oscillations (oscillator death), phase-flip transitions etc, as we use different time-delays in the coupling terms of the modeled systems. It is an extension of the work I did in the past:
    • We are also trying to use real large-scale connectivity matrix (measured from monkeys) and explore the effects of distributed delays in brain activity patterns, similar to the work recently published:
  • May 8 Liana Artinian from Vincent Rehder's lab, "The volume messenger nitric oxide controls the intrinsic excitability via apamin-sensitive potassium channels"
  • Aug 14: Location Emory University, Rollins Research Center room 2052
    Organizational meeting and a meet and greet.  Come prepared to talk for < 5 minutes about your work or what you did this summer.
  • Sept 18 (note this is the 3rd Friday)
    Fred Sieling will discuss work he did this summer in John Simmers' lab in France.  The title of his talk is: "Operant conditioning of ingestion CPG in Aplysia supported by increased electrical coupling between initiating neurons"
  • Oct 9th - Cancelled
  • Nov 13th - Jianxia Cui from Rob Butera's lab at GA Tech will talk about: "Dynamics of Hybrid Networks of Inhibitory Spiking Neurons with Heterogeneity Measured by Phase Response Curves (PRCs)"
  • Dec 11th - Akira Sakurai from Paul Katz's lab at GSU will talk about "Species-differences in the organization of CPGs underlying similar behaviors"


  • Jan 11th Donald Edwards
    Title: "Long View Seminar: the Lateral Giant and the Command Neuron Concept"

  • Feb 8th Dieter Jaeger
    "Deep cerebellar nucleus modeling:  rebounds, and dynamic clamp simulations"
    Special time and location:  10AM, Room 2052 in Wayne Rollins Research Center (1510 Clifton Rd), Emory University.
    See for a map.
    Visitor parking is available in the Michael St. parking deck.

  • March 14th Ronald Calabrese
    Title: "Long View Seminar: Conceptual Advances in the Study of Invertebrate CPGs"
  • April 11th Robert Butera
    "Long view seminar: Aplysia Neuron R15 -- Do we REALLY know how this neuron bursts, even after over 40  years of study?" 

  • Sept 12 - David Cofer in Don Edwards' lab at GSU will talk about  "Neurobiomechanics of the Locust Jump"
  • Oct 10 - Paul Katz and Rob Clewley at GSU will discuss their collaboration on "Characterizing the dynamics of neuromodulation"
    • DataBlitz: Brian Norris
  • Nov 14 - No meeting because of the SfN meeting
  • Dec 12: Cengiz Gunay from Astrid Prinz's lab "Are local calcium sensors sufficient for network homeostasis? -- An analysis of sensor and readout parameters from a static model database."
    New Location: 804 General Classroom Building (building 12 on


  • Jan 12  Michiya Kamio
    Title: "Partial characterization of sex pheromone of blue crab,Callinectes sapidus"   
  • Feb 9: Bill Walthall and Gennady Cymbalyuk
    Title: "Dissecting Locomotion in the nematode: Integrating Genetic and Computational Approaches"
  • Mar 9:  Brian Antonsen
    Title: "Dissecting serotonergic modulation of a crayfish escape circuit"
  • April 13: Zeni Shabani from Chuck Derby's lab
    Title: "Alarm signaling in spiny lobsters"
  • May 11: Amanda Preyer from Rob Butera's lab at GA Tech
    Title: "Phase Response Curves and Synchrony in Pairs of Coupled Aplysia Neurons."
  • Sept 14, Akira Sakurai
    Title: "Adaptive recovery of neural circuit function after injury."  

  • Oct 12, Manfred Schmidt
    Title: "Immunocytochemical and electron microscopical analysis of stem cell niches associated with adult neurogenesis in the spiny lobster brain"

  • Nov 9, Neuroscience debriefing

  • Dec 14 Evan Hill
    Title: "Dynamic enhancement of spike-evoked calcium signaling by a serotonergic interneuron"

  • Jan 13: Data blitz- Prepare to talk for 5 minutes about the work that you are currently doing. You can include your resolutions for the new year.
  • February 10th: Merry Clark from Deb Baro's lab will discuss her work on "Characterization & localization of dopamine receptors in the stomatogastric nervous system"
  • March 3rd: Angela Wenning from Ron Calabrese's lab at Emory will discuss "Leech heart interneuron X and its effects on the heart motor neurons
  • Special Seminar Friday March 24th 11AM, 441 NSC
    Nerida Wilson
    Department of Biological Sciences
    Auburn University
    Title: "Phylogeography of Antarctic Marine Invertebrates"
  • There will be no Invertebrate Neuroscience Forum in April because of the South East Nerve Net on April 1st and the conference on Bursting Neurons on April 7 and 8.
  • Sept 8
    Bob Calin-Jageman

    Title: "A computational analysis of the Tritonia swim CPG"
    No meeting in Oct because of SfN
  • Nov 10: Andrey Olypher
    Title: "Local Variations of Parameters in the Model Half-Center Oscillator Maintaining Constant Period"
  • Dec 8: Angela Wenning
    Title: "Into, out of, and along the leech hearts"


  • Jan 14th: Manfred Schmidt "Elicitation and function of antennular grooming in the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus"

  • Feb 11th: Bob Calin-Jageman
    "A computational approach to understanding cellular interactions in the siphon-withdrawal circuit of Aplysia Californica"

  • March 18th: Akira Sakurai
    "The mechanism for synaptic potentiation by a serotonergic neuron in the Tritonia swim CPG"

  • April 8th: Pete Issa
    "The Effect of Social Experience on Postural Control in Crayfish"

  • May 13th: Gennady Cymbalyuk
    "Regulation of temporal characteristics of bursting activity"

  • Sept 9:  Data Blitz, Come prepared to answer the question, "What did you do over the summer?"
  • Oct 7th: Andrey Olypher from Emory will talk about his work in collaboration with Ron Calabrese and Gennady Cymbalyuk.
    Title: "Inactivation kinetics of a low-threshold calcium current as a mechanism for regulation of the bursting activity"
  • Nov 4th: Astrid Prinz from Emory University will discuss "Homeostatic regulation in neuronal network models"
  • Dec 9th: Donald Edwards from Georgia State will talk about: "Closing the loop between nervous systems and behavior"


  • Sept. 10th: 8:30AM Merry Clark from Deb Baro's lab will discuss her work on Dopamine Receptors in Crustaceans.

  • Oct 8th: 8:30AM Evan Hill from Paul Katz's lab will talk about his research conducted as a post-doc in Japan on Modulatory actions of serotonin in olfactory processing in the brain of the male silkmoth revealed by optical, intra- and extracellular recording.

  • Nov. 12: 8:30 AM Cynthia Kicklighter is Chuck Derby's lab will discuss her work on Intraspecific communication in Aplysia californica: ink and opaline act as alarm pheromones

  • Dec. 10th: 8:30AM Nadja Spitzer from Deb Baro and Don Edwards' labs will discuss her work on lobster and crayfish serotonin receptor pharmacology.