Rhanor Gillette


414 Burrill Hall
Office: (217) 333-0328
Lab: (217) 244-5741
Fax: (217) 333-1133

Mail to: Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
524 Burrill Hall
407 S. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801
Lab Page

Rhanor Gillette

Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Research Topics

Computational Biology, Ion Channels, Learning and Memory, Neurobiology, Pattern Formation, Sensory Processing


B.S. 1967 University of Miami
M.S. 1969 University of Hawaii
Ph.D. 1974 University of Toronto

Teaching Interests

Neural Bases of Decision

My research activities are aimed at how animals organize their behavior by integrating motivation, experience and sensation. My laboratory analyzes decision-making in behavioral expression and the underlying neural network circuitry. We analyze interactions of neural networks and the regulation of network activity by cell signalling pathways involving neuromodulatory messengers and second messenger pathways. We use the carnivorous marine snail Pleurobranchaea californica as a model system, taking advantage of the simple behavior and brain that underlie its success as a generalized predator. A corollary activity newly emerging as a result of the behavioral and physiological work is the development of software and hardware platforms for autonomous cost-benefit analysis of alternative behaviors for computational decision-making and robotics.

Representative Publications

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 NG, Gillette R, McCrohan CR (2010) Nitric oxide potentiates cAMP-gated cation current by intracellular acidification in feeding neurons of Pleurobranchaea. J Neurophysiol 104:742-5. PMID: 20484526

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

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]. PMID: 18036151

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). PMID: 17267641

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

Gillette, R. Evolution and function in serotonergic systems. Integrative and Comparative Biology 46, 838-846 (2006).

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. [Abstract]

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. [Abstract]

Stuart, J.N., Ebaugh, J.D., Copes, A.L., Hatcher, N.G., Gillette, R. and Sweedler, J.V. 2004. Systemic serotonin sulfate in opisthobranch mollusks. J. Neurochem. 90, 734-742. [Abstract]

Lazebrink, M., Marks, D.L., Potgieter, K., Gillette, R. and Boppart, S.A. 2003. Functional optical coherence tomography for detecting neural activity through scattering changes. Optics Letters. 28, 1218-1221. [Abstract]

Jing, J. and Gillette, R. 2003. Directional avoidance turns encoded by single neurons and sustained by multifunctional serotonergic cells. J. Neurosci. 23, 3039-3051. [Abstract]

Zhang, X., Kim, W.-S., Hatcher, N.G., Potgieter, K., Gillette, R. and Sweedler, J.V. 2002. Interfering with nitric oxide measurements: 4,5-Diaminofluorescein reacts with dehydroascorbic acid and ascorbic acid. J. Biologic. Chem. 277, 472-478. [Abstract]

Gillette, R. and Jing, J. 2001. The role of the escape swim motor network in the organization of behavioral hierarchy and arousal in Pleurobranchaea. Symposium on Swimming in Opisthobranch Mollusks: Contributions to Control of Motor Behavior. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Atlanta. Amer. Zool.

Zhang, X., Fuller, R.R., Dahlgren, R., Potgieter, K., Gillette, R. and Sweedler, J.V. 2001. Neurotransmitter sampling and storage for capillary electrophoresis analysis. Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry. 369(3-4):206-211. [Abstract]

Gillette, R., Huang, R.-C., Hatcher, N.G. and Moroz, L L. 2000. Cost-benefit analysis potential in feeding behavior of a predatory snail by integration of hunger, taste and pain. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 97, 3585-3590. [Abstract]

Jing, J. and Gillette, R. 2000. Escape swim network interneurons have diverse roles in behavioral switching and putative arousal in Pleurobranchaea. J. Neurophysiol. 83, 1346-1355. [Abstract]

Moroz, L.L., Gillette, R. and Sweedler, J.V. 1999. Single cell analyses of nitrergic neurons in simpler nervous systems. J. Exp. Biol. 202, 333-341. [Abstract]

Hurst, W.J., Moroz, L.L., Gillette, M.U. and Gillette, R. 1999. Nitric oxide synthase immunolabeling in the molluscan CNS and peripheral tissues. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 262, 545-548. [Abstract]

Jing, J. and Gillette, R. 1999. The central pattern generator for escape swimming in the sea slug Pleurobranchaea californica. J. Neurophysiol. 81, 654-657. [Abstract]

Sudlow, L..C., Jing, J., Moroz L.L. and Gillette, R. 1998. Serotonin immunoreactivity in the central nervous system of the marine molluscs Pleurobranchaea californica and Tritonia diomedea. J. Comp. Neurol. 395(4):466-80. [Abstract]

Fuller, R.R., Sweedler J.V., Gillette, R. and Moroz, L.L. 1998. Single neuron analysis by capillary electrophoresis with fluorescence spectroscopy. Neuron 20(2):173-81. [Abstract]

Sudlow, L..C. and Gillette, R. 1997. Cyclic AMP levels, adenylyl cyclase activity, and their stimulation by serotonin quantified in intact neurons. J. Gen. Physiol. 110(3):243-55. [Abstract]

Gilly, W.F., McFarlane, M. and Gillette, R. 1997. Fast and slow activation kinetics of voltage-gated sodium channels in molluscan neurons. J. Neurophysiol. 77(5):2373-84. [Abstract]

Cruz, L., Sweedler, J.V., Gillette, R. and Moroz, L.L. 1997. Nitrite and nitrate levels in individual molluscan neurons: single-cell capillary electrophoresis analysis. J. Neurochem. 69(1):110-5. [Abstract]

Moroz, L.L., Gillette, R., Jing, J. and Sudlow, L.C. 1997. Serotonin-immunoreactivity in peripheral tissues of the opisthobranch molluscs Pleurobranchaea californica and Tritonia diomedea. J. Comp. Neurol. 382(2):176-88. [Abstract]

Moroz, L.L. and R. Gillette. 1996. NADPH-Diaphorase localization in the CNS and peripheral tissues of the predatory sea-slug Pleurobranchaea californica. J. Comp. Neurol. 367(4):607-22. [Abstract]

Moroz, L.L, Gillette, R., Gillette, M.U. and Chen, D. 1996. Nitric Oxide synthase activity in the moluscan CNS. J. Neurochem. 66(2):873-6. [Abstract]

Sudlow, L.C. and Gillette, R. 1995. Cyclic AMP-Gated sodium current in neurons of the pedal ganglion of the Pleurobranchaea californica is activated by serotonin. J. Neurophysiol. 73:2230-6. [Abstract]

Jing, J. and Gillette, R. 1995. Neuronal elements that mediate escape swimming and suppress feeding behavior in the predatory seaslug Pleurobranchaea. J. Neurophysiol. 74:1900-1910. [Abstract]

Moroz, L.L. and Gillette, R. 1995. From Polyplacophora to Cephalopoda: Comparative analysis of nitric oxide signalling in Mollusca. Acta Biologica Hungarica 46:169-182. [Abstract]

Sudlow, L.C., Huang, R.-C., Green, D.J. and Gillette, R. 1993. cAMP-activated Na+ current of molluscan neurons is resistant to kinase inhibitors and is gated by cAMP in the isolated patch. J. Neurosci. 13:5188-5193. [Abstract]

Gillette, R., Saeki, M. and Huang, R.-C. 1991. Defense mechanisms in notaspidean snails: Acid humor and evasiveness. J. Exp. Biol. 156:335-347.

Gillette, R. 1991. On the significance of neuron giantism in gastropods. The Biological Bulletin 180:234-240.