Patsy Dickinson

Affiliation: Biology
Josiah Little Professor of Natural Sciences Emerita and Adjunct Professor of Biology

The goal of my research is understanding the mechanisms that underlie the ability of the nervous system to generate flexibility in patterned movements. Many activities, such as breathing and locomotion, require repeated patterns of movement. These rhythmic movements are controlled by neural circuits that are "hard-wired", but are nonetheless able to generate multiple outputs, thereby allowing the same network to control multiple versions of a behavior, for example, running and walking. My lab uses two simple neural circuits in the lobster as a model system in which to examine the physiological and molecular mechanisms that drive this flexibility. We use a range of techniques, including physiological recordings of neuronal activity, recordings of heart contractions, immunohistochemistry, and some molecular techniques.

Patsy Dickinson chatting with student in class


  • Post-doctoral research, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Comparée, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université de Bordeaux I, Arcachon, France, 1979-1981
  • PhD, University of Washington
  • MS, University of Washington
  • BA, Pomona College