Hensill Hall, Dept.Biology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94132



Congratulations to Tiffany Hong, who successfully defended her MS in August, 2014. She will continue as Lab Technician for the fall.

Congratulations to Tracy Wadsworth, Andrew Carriman and Alba Gutierrez for their publication "Ecdysis behaviors and circadian rhythm of ecdysis in the stick insect, Carausius morosus" in the Journal of Insect Physiology!


Research Questions

The Fuse Lab is focused on understanding how animals respond to external stresses and tissue damage, from a physiological and developmental perspective. We use insect models to address questions that are fundamentally important for all organisms.

  • What are the systemic responses to tissue damage? We can selectively damage the highly proliferating and regenerative imaginal discs of Manduca sexta by x-ray irradiation or mechanically, and monitor systemic effects on the nervous,immune and endocrine systems. The damaged discs have the capacity to regenerate, and appear to secrete factors to delay development – to coordinate tissue repair with development - by targeting the endocrine system. We are assessing the signals from the imaginal discs and at the target endocrine glands.
  • How are neurons sensitized after noxious stimuli? Manduca sexta shows a defensive strike behavior in response to trivial mechanical stimuli, and this strike behavior is increased markedly (more strikes, with less pressure) after a noxious stimulus. We are looking at the biochemical processes (e.g. second messenger signaling) underlying sensitization of the defensive strike response in M. sexta, in response to noxious stimuli.

  • How are behaviors modulated and coordinated in response to external information? We study the neural regulation of a complex behavior; namely ecdysis, or the shedding of the outer cuticle, in insects. We have been identifying modulatory peptides and other transmitters, and their actions in ecdysis, along with the signal transduction mechanisms involved. We have identified inhibitory inputs that may be key elements in timing ecdysis behaviors in many, if not all insects. This inhibition may provide different insects (with different body shapes and habitats) the flexibility to shed their cuticles at appropriate times of day, or in appropriate lengths of time, and in response to external stimuli.

I have short and long-term projects for undergrads (freshmen to seniors) and Masters students.



Email: Fuse@sfsu.edu