Montana State University

MSU lecturer to explain how nervous system processes information

January 15, 2010 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- A free public lecture about how the nervous system processes sensory information to produce certain behaviors will be given on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Montana State University.

Steve Stowers, an assistant professor in MSU's Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, will speak on "Somatosensory Circuit Mapping and Optogenetic Manipulation of Behavior in Larval Drosophila" at 5 p.m. in the Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building. A reception will follow in the Leigh Lounge.

Stowers completed postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. During that time, he developed a novel genetic method to identify several previously unknown genes required for the neurotransmitter release process. These genes may play a role in learning and memory, as well as Huntington's disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative condition. Stowers' current research uses the relatively simple nervous system and powerful genetics of the fruit fly to understand the stimulus required to elicit specific behaviors.

Stowers' lecture is presented by the Kopriva Science Seminar Series, which is funded through an endowment created by Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate from MSU. Kopriva, who died in 2002, also created an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides support and opportunities for graduate students in the College of Letters and Science, particularly in the biomedical sciences. The series features four seminars annually. Talks are provided by MSU graduate students, faculty members and guest speakers. For more information about this and other Kopriva lectures, visit

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or