Picture of Dr. Jack Gray

Dr. Jack Gray PhD Professor

Professor, Department of Biology
Associate Member, Department of Physiology
Member, Division of Biomedical Engineering

CSRB 120.2

Research Area(s)

  • Neural control of animal behaviour
  • Biologically-inspired algorithms for artificial systems
  • Behavioural and neurophysiological aspects of adaptive insect flight
  • Investigating interactions between an animal's external environment and its nervous system
  • Effects of pesticides on neural function
Jack Gray featured in Thinking: A Research, Scholarly and Artistic Work Collaboration Collider

About Me

I completed my Ph.D. in 1995 in Mel Robertson’s lab in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University. During this time my research focused on neurophysiological and anatomical changes in the locust forewing hinge stretch receptor (fSR) during adult maturation and how these changes may be involved in establishing the fully mature flight motor pattern. I stayed on in Mel’s lab for two years as a Postdoctoral Associate where I used computer-generated visual stimuli to study the activity of a pair of looming-sensitive visual neurons, the descending contralateral movement detectors (DCMDs) and how this activity may be related to collision avoidance behaviours during flight.

I began my Manduca research career as a Grass Foundation Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA during the summer of 1997. During this time I conducted independent research on neural circuitry underlying a novel motor pattern expressed during metamorphosis of this insect. I continued along this path as a Research Associate in Janis Weeks’s lab in the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon. There I use high magnification confocal microscopy to describe anatomical correlates of a steroid-induced change in synaptic strength of a sensori-motor pathway during metamorphosis.

In September 1999 I moved to the University of Arizona to work in John Hildebrand’s lab at the Arizona Research Laboratory Division of Neurobiology where I worked directly with Mark Willis (now in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University) to address issues of sensori-motor control of odour-guided flight of adult male Manduca. While there I designed and fabricated a virtual reality flight simulator that allows a tethered flying insect to control a realistic, 3-dimensional computer-generated environment. At the same time I use multi-channel probes to record multi-neuronal activity from the insect's CNS during odour-guided flight.

In 2001 I moved to the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan as an Assistant Professor. The research in my lab continues to explore aspects of sensori-motor control of insect flight using the flight simulator and wind tunnel.