Professor of Zoology & Department Chair
Program Director Undergraduate Mentoring Program (URM) in the Biological Sciences
Neurobiology and Animal Physiology, effects of environmental toxicants on the nervous system of the aquatic oligochaete
worm, Lumbriculus variegatus.
Phone: (707) 826-3246
Office: Science B 223A
Personal Website: http://users.humboldt.edu/bruceogara/
BS (1976) University of Wisconsin, Madison
MS (1980) North Dakota State University
PhD (1986) Iowa State University
Summary of research
The major thrust of the lab is to examine the effects of copper on the behavior and neural function of the aquatic oligochaete worm Lumbriculus variegatus. Copper exposure negatively affects several locomotory behaviors as well as the electrophysiological properties of specific identified neurons. We have developed several treatments that protect the animals from copper toxicity.
- O’Gara, B.A., Murray, P.M, Hoyt, E.M., Leigh-Logan, T., and Smeaton, M.B. (2006). The Vitamin E analog Trolox reduces copper toxicity in the annelid Lumbriculus variegatus but is also toxic on its own. Neurotoxicology 27:604-614.
- O’Gara B.A., Bohannon, V.K., Teague, M.W., & Smeaton, M.B. (2004). Copper-induced changes in locomotor behavior and neuronal physiology of the freshwater oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus. Aquatic Toxicol. 69:51-66
- O'Gara, B. A., Abbasi, A., Kaniecki, K., Sarder, F., Liu, J., and Narine, L. (1999). Pharmacological characterization
of the response of the leech pharynx to acetylcholine. J. Exp. Zool. 284:729-741.
O'Gara, B. A., Brown, P. L., Dlugosch, D., Kandiel, J. W., Abbasi, A., and Kounalakis, N. (1999). Regulation of pharyngeal
motility by FMRFamide and related peptides in the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis. Invert. Neurosci. 4:41-53.
O'Gara, B. A., Illuzzi, F. A., Chung, M., Portnoy, A. D., Fraga, K., Frieman, V. B. (1999). Serotonin induces
four pharmacologically separable contractile responses in the pharynx of the leech, Hirudo medicinalis. Gen. Pharmacol. 32:669-681.
O'Gara, B. A. and Friesen, W. O. (1995). Termination of swimming activity by a previously identified swim trigger
neuron. J. Comp. Physiol. A 177:627-636.
Current Grad Students:
Manal Alkhathlan, Patrick Brown, and Monica Richmond
Former Grad Students: