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Queen's University

R.M. Robertson - Professor

headly_head.jpg Research: We are interested in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the natural behaviours of animals; particularly in how the details of neuronal circuits are determined by factors other than those of the computational task that has to be performed (e.g. evolutionary, environmental and ecological constraints).  We focus on the control of ventilation, predator evasion and flight in locusts because these animals are adapted for exposure to variable and extreme environmental conditions (temperature and oxygen availability).  We use electrophysiological and pharmacological approaches to investigate the operation and plasticity of motor circuits in the basic biology of locusts and fruit flies.  Our studies also have clear implications for biomedical questions concerning cellular stressors and brain function.

 »» Lab Website »« email: »« telephone: 613-533-6533 ««

Some Recent Publications:

  • Spong, K.E. and Robertson, R.M. Pharmacological blockade of gap junctions induces repetitive surging of extracellular potassium within the locust CNS. J. Insect Physiol. 59:1031-1040 (2013).
  • Robertson R.M. and Money T.G. Temperature and neuronal circuit function: compensation, tuning and tolerance. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 22:1-11 (2012).
  • Armstrong, G.A.B., Rodriguez, E. and Robertson, R.M. Cold hardening modulates K+ homeostasis in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster during chill coma. J. Insect Physiol. 58:1511-1516 (2012). 
  • Rodriguez, E. and Robertson, R.M.  Protective effect of hypothermia on brain potassium homeostasis during repetitive anoxia in Drosophila melanogaster. J. Exp. Biol. 215:4157-4165 (2012).
  • Armstrong G.A., Xiao C., Krill J.L., Seroude L., Dawson-Scully K. and Robertson R.M. Glial Hsp70 protects K+ homeostasis in the drosophila brain during repetitive anoxic depolarization. PLoS One 6:e28994 (2011).
  • Dehghani, M.. Xiao, C., Money, T.G.A., Shoemaker, K.L. and Robertson, R.M. Protein expression following heat shock in the nervous system of Locusta migratoria. J. Insect Physiol. 57:1480-1488 (2011).
  • Rodgers-Garlick, C.I., Armstrong, G.A.B. and Robertson, R.M. Metabolic stress modulates motor patterning via AMP-activated protein kinase. J. Neurosci. 31:3207-3216 (2011).
  • Rodgers, C.I., Armstrong, G.A.B. and Robertson, R.M. Coma in response to environmental stress in the locust: a model for cortical spreading depression. J. Insect Physiol. 56:980-990 (2010).
  • Gray, J.R., Blincow, E. and Robertson, R.M. A pair of motion-sensitive neurons in the locust encode approaches of a looming object. J. Comp. Physiol. 196:927-938 (2010)
  • Robertson, R.M., Björnfors, E.R. and Sillar, K.T. Long-lasting effects of chemical hypoxia on spinal cord function in tadpoles. NeuroReport 21:943-947 (2010).
  • Armstrong, G.A.B., López-Guerrero, J.J., Dawson-Scully, K.D., Peña, F. and Robertson, R.M. Inhibition of protein kinase G activity protects neonatal mouse respiratory network from hyperthermic and hypoxic stress. Brain Res. 1311:64-72 (2010).
  • Robertson, R.M. and Sillar, K.T. The NO/cGMP pathway tunes the thermosensitivity of swimming motor patterns in Xenopus laevis tadpoles. J. Neurosci. 29:13945-13951 (2009). 

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000