Alan J Nighorn

Research Interests

Dr. Alan Nighorn Ph.D., is Department Head and Professor of Neuroscience, and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He received his Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Nighorn’s major research interests include cellular communication in the adult and developing olfactory system: nitric oxide in the olfactory system, serotonin as a neuromodulator in the olfactory system, and axon guidance in the olfactory pathway. Dr. Nighorn also focuses on understanding the molecular interactions that underlie the appropriate development and function of the olfactory system. Dr. Nighorn’s ultimate goal is to understand how these neuromodulators affect the antennal lobe and lead to changes in the processing of olfactory cues and olfactory-based behaviors. His approach is to take advantage of the experimental manipulations and rich electrophysiological and behavioral context available using the moth Manduca sexta as a model. Dr. Nighorn uses ptical recording, intracellular recording, multiunit extracellular recording, path clamp recording – both in-vivo and in cell culture – and behavioral assays including upwind flight and proboscis extension olfactory conditioned behaviors to investigate the function and development of the olfactory system.