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Trying to figure out how the brain works—how humans generate consciousness, learn things, and are able to produce coordinated behaviors—is the basic research in the laboratory of Professor Ronald Harris-Warrick, Neurobiology and Behavior. These actions depend on neurons that have special properties, such as the ability to burst rhythmically, or rebound after inhibition, and these special properties depend on the ion channels that each neuron expresses. Harris-Warrick and his research group are studying a set of ion channels that is selective for potassium and others that are selective for calcium ions. A number of diseases are caused by mutations in ion channel genes that can cause various motor and other defects. Cornell Presidential Research Scholar, Michael Matly '03, began his research in Harris-Warrick's laboratory last fall on a project to map the distribution of a set of ion channels in neurons that have been identified in a small neural network. Matly locates these channels in the 3-D structure of a neuron, in order to determine where they are active in the cell.

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