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Smale Laura Smale
Primary Program: Behavioral Neuroscience
222 Giltner
(517) 432-1632

Research Statement

We are a research and teaching laboratory at Michigan State University, part of the Rhythms Group. Much of our research is aimed at understanding how the neural mechanisms underlying behavior have been transformed as natural selection shapes the behavior patterns exhibited by animals. The focus is specifically on how daily activity patterns have diverged over the course of evolution. Day- and night-active animals live in very different worlds and have adaptations that enable them to function best in a bright/hot environment or a dark/cold one, respectively. One of our goals is to better understand how the brain mechanisms and structures related to the sensory worly have changed during these transitions. Another goal is to determine how the mechanisms that actually control the timing of daily activity patterns have been altered as day-active mammals evolved from their night-active ancestors. We are also examining how rhythms, and their neural substrates, can differ across individuals within a species and how they can be modified within individuals as their environments change. Much of this work is being conducted in collaboration with people in the labs of two other members of the Rhythms Research Group at MSU, Dr. Antonio (Tony) Nunez and Dr. Lily Yan in the Behavioral Neuroscience program in the Psychology Department, and with Dr. Barbara Lundrigan and her students in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Related Research Websites
MSU Rhythms Research Group The Rhythms Research Group at Michigan State University is a collection of Neuroscientists who share research interests, lab equipment and techniques. Members of the group benefit from their frequent interations and close collaborations. Our research focuses on the processes and mechanisms of biological rhythms of mammals.

Research Publications    
2016Gall 2016
2015Langel 2015
2014Langel 2014
2012Shuboni 2012
2010Cohen 2010
2010Schwartz 2010
2009Schwartz 2009
2009Schraeder 2009
2008Ramanathan 2008
2008Smale 2008