Rhanor  Gillette


414/422 Burrill Hall
Office: 217-333-0328

Mail to:
Dept. Molecular & Integrative Physiology
524 Burrill Hall
407 S. Goodwin Ave.
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801
Lab Page

Rhanor Gillette

Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
B.S., University of Miami
M.S., University of Hawaii
Ph.D., University of Toronto

Mechanisms of decision in cell, circuit and behavior

How do animals integrate sensory knowledge with internal state and experience to produce adaptive behavior? We use the predatory marine snail Pleurobranchaea to study decision-making in foraging. With simpler behavior and nervous system, the animal is a superb model system to study mechanisms of motivation, learning, and cost-benefit decision at levels of cell and circuit. Description of neuronal circuitry underlying aversive behaviors and the network interactions of feeding and aversive behaviors elucidates basic mechanisms of decision-making and adaptive serial ordering of behavioral sequences, and how they are influenced by motivation and learning. Recent work models neural networks mediating decision in interactive simulations (http://www.life.uiuc.edu/slugcity). New findings on sensory pathways enable study of roles of reward learning and motivation in neuronal circuitry for approach/avoidance decision.

Collaborative Projects

Prof Jonathan Sweedler (Chemistry) The roles of serotonin and NO in regulating feeding behavior in model organisms

Research Areas

Representative Publications

Gillette R and Brown JW. (2015) The sea slug, Pleurobranchaea californica: A signpost species in the evolution of complex nervous systems and behavior. Integr Comp Biol. Jul 10. pii: icv081. PMID: 26163678

Hirayama K, Moroz LL, Hatcher NG and Gillette R (2014) Neuromodulatory control of a goal-directed decision. PLoS One 9(7): e102240. doi:10.1371/journal.

Gillette, R. Pleurobranchaea (2014) Scholarpedia Journal 9(11).

Noboa V and Gillette R. (2013) Selective prey avoidance learning in the predatory sea-slug Pleurobranchaea californica. Journal of Experimental Biology 216, 3231-3236. .

Hirayama K, Catanho M, Brown JW and Gillette R (2012) A core circuit module for cost/benefit decision. Frontiers in Neuroscience 6:123

Hirayama K and Gillette R. (2012) A neuronal network switch for approach-avoidance toggled by appetitive state. Current Biology 22,118-123.

Yafremava L.S. and Gillette R. Putative lateral inhibition in sensory processing for directional turns. Journal of Neurophysiology 105, 2885-2890 (2011).

Potgieter, K., Hatcher, N.G. Gillette, R. and McCrohan, C.R. Nitric oxide potentiates cAMP-gated cation current by intracellular acidification in feeding neurons of Pleurobranchaea. Journal of Neurophysiology 104, 742-755 (2010).

Hatcher, N.G., Zhang, X., Potgieter, K., Moroz, L.L., Sweedler, J.V. and Gillette, R. 5 HT and 5 HT-SO4, but not 5-HIAA, in single feeding neurons track animal hunger state. Journal of Neurochemistry 104, 1358-1363 (2008). 2007 Nov 23 [Epub ahead of print]

Gillette, R. Behavioral Hierarchies, in The New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, edited by Larry Squire et al.. Pub. Elsevier, 2008.

Kristan, R. and Gillette, R. Behavioral choice. In, Invertebrate Neurobiology. North G. and Greenspan R.J. Eds. Pub. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2007.

Hatcher, N.G., Sudlow, L.C., Moroz, L.L., and Gillette, R. 2006. Nitric Oxide potentiates cAMP-gated cation current in feeding neurons of Pleurobranchaea californica independent of cAMP and cGMP signaling pathways. J. Neurophysiol. 95, 3219-3227.

Yafremava, L. S. Anthony, C.W., Lane, L., Campbell, J.K. and Gillette, R. Orienting and avoidance turning are precisely computed by the predatory sea-slug Pleurobranchaea californica McFarland. Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 561-569 (2007).

Stuart, J.N., Hatcher, N.G., Zhang, X., Gillette, R. and Sweedler, J.V. 2005. Squrious serotonin dimer formation using electrokinetic injection in capillary electrophoresis from small volume biological samples. Analyst. 130, 147-151.

Stuart, J.N., J.D. Ebaugh, A.L. Copes, N.G. Hatcher, R. Gillette, and J.V. Sweedler. 2004. Systemic serotonin sulfate in opisthobranch mollusks. Journal of Neurochemistry. 90:734-743.

Jing, J. and Gillette, R. 2003. Directional avoidance turns encoded by single neurons and sustained by multifunctional serotonergic cells. Journal of Neuroscience 23: 3039-3051.

Gillette, R., and J. Jing. 2001. The role of the escape swim motor network in the organization of behavioral hierarchy and arousal in Pleurobranchaea. American Zoologist. 41:983-992.

Gillette, R., Huang, R.-C., Hatcher, N. and Moroz, L. L. 2000. Cost-benefit analysis potential in feeding behavior of a predatory snail by integration of hunger, taste and pain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 97: 3585-3590.

Jing, J. and Gillette, R. 2000. Escape swim network interneurons have diverse roles in behavioral switching and putative arousal in Pleurobranchaea. Journal of Neurophysiology. 83: 1346-1355.