John Jellies

Photo of John  Jellies
John Jellies
Professor of Biological Sciences
(269) 387-5623
3163 Wood Hall, Mail Stop 5410
Mailing address: 
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5410 USA
Research interests: 
  • Neurobiology and behavior
  • Physiology and biophysics
  • Zoology

Dr. John Jellies is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University.

Jellies is a neurobiologist with interests in the function, development and evolution of neural circuits. The focus of Jellies' work is an experimentalist's approach to understand the neuronal bases of behaviors. He works with sensory encoding and processing, motor output and coordination and development and evolution of neural circuits. He uses the invertebrate medicinal leech (genus Hirudo) and behavioral, biochemical, cellular and electrophysiological techniques to ask a variety of questions such as:

  • How are multiple streams of sensory information encoded and integrated to evoke adaptive behavior?
  • How does the leech use visual information about luminance (brightness) and spectrum (color) to inform its CNS about external conditions and the position of the body in three dimensional space?
  • How do neural circuits change their function over time and with changing conditions (i.e., learning, adaptation and plasticity)?
  • How do peripheral neural circuits and muscle targets translate and elaborate the motor commands arising in the central nervous system?
  • How do neurons partition materials to different locations, generating complex functional domains in single cells?

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