Tel.: +44 (0)1223 336628
First, I analyse the neuronal mechanisms by which a nervous system generates and controls natural movements. I study the functioning of the underlying neuronal networks in insects where it is possible to relate the actions of individual known neurones directly to the movements they control. What are the properties, connections and actions of the small but numerous local interneurons which includes those that do not normally spike and those that normally do spike. I analyse the role that these interneurons play in the integration of mechanosensory signals from the legs, and the way in which they contribute to the generation of motor patterns. The main approach is to record the intracellular activity of neurones during a defined movement, to reveal their morphology by dye injection for the light and electron microscope, and to reveal putative transmitters by immunocytochemistry.
Second, I seek to understand the mechanisms by which animals with the same genome can exist in two different forms that differ in behaviour and appearance. I analyse these phenotypic variations in locusts which can exist in either a solitary or a gregarious form. The transition from solitary to gregarious can be effected by short periods of stimulation of hairs on the a particular region of a hind leg. The resulting behavioural changes are apparent in 4 hrs and are accompanied by changes in the properties of known neurons and in the chemistry of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the central nervous system.
Third, I study the interactions between motor patterns and the muscles and skeleton in rapid and powerful jumping movements. This involves high speed imaging of the movements of insects, recordings from muscles to reveal their actions, and analysis of the mechanics of the joints, and the ability of the skeleton to store energy. The evolution of these jumping mechanisms is being analysed in plant sucking bugs.
- Sutton, G.P. and Burrows, M. (2010) The mechanics of azimuth control in jumping by froghopper insects. J. Exp. Biol. 213: 1406-1416.
- Burrows, M. and Bräunig, P. (2010) The actions of neurons and leg muscles in jumping by planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). J. Comp. Neurol. 518: 1349-1369.
- Rogers , Stephen M., Harston, George W. J., Kilburn-Toppin, Fleur., Matheson, Thomas., Burrows, M., Gabbiani, Fabrizio., and Krapp, Holger G. (2010) Spatiotemporal receptive field properties of a looming-sensitive neuron in solitarious and gregarious phases of the desert locust. J. Neurophysiol. 103: 779-792.
- Burrows, M. (2010) Leg synchronisation and energy storage in jumping planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). J. Exp. Biol. 213: 469-478.
- Burrows, M. (2009) How Fleas Jump. Malcolm Burrows discusses Henry Bennet-Clark and Eric Lucey’s 1967 paper entitled: ‘ The jump of the flea: a study of the energetics and a model of the mechanism. ’ J. Exp. Biol. 212: 2881-2883.
- Burrows, M. (2009) Jumping performance of planthopper insects (Hemiptera, Issidae). J. Exp. Biol. 212: 2844-2855. Burrows, M. (2009) A single muscle moves a crustacean limb joint rhythmically by acting against a spring. BMC Biology 7: 27.
- Anstey, M.L., Rogers, S.M., Ott, S.R, Burrows, M. and Simpson, S.J. (2009) Serotonin mediates behavioural gregarization underlying swarm formation in desert locusts. Science 323: 627-630.
- Burrows, M. (2009) Jumping strategies and performance in shore bugs (Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Saldidae). J. Exp. Biol. 212: 106-115.
- Burrows, M. , Shaw, S.R. and Sutton, G.P. (2008) Resilin and cuticle form a composite structure for energy storage in jumping by froghopper insects. BMC Biology 6: 41.
- Sutton, G.P. and Burrows, M. (2008) The mechanics of elevation control in locust jumping. J. Comp. Physiol. [A] 194: 557-563.
- Burrows, M. and Sutton, G.P. (2008)The effect of leg length on jumping performance of short and long-legged leafhopper insects. J. Exp. Biol. 211: 1317-1325.
- Burrows, M. (2008) Jumping in a wingless stick insect, Timema chumash (Phasmatodea, Timematodea, Timematidae). J. Exp. Biol. 211: 1021-1028.
- Bräunig, P. and Burrows, M. (2008) Neurons controlling jumping in froghopper insects. J. Comp. Neurol. 507: 1065-1075.
- Burrows, M. (2007) Anatomy of the hind legs and actions of their muscles during jumping in leafhopper insects. J. Exp. Biol. 210: 3590-3600.
- Burrows, M. (2007) Kinematics of jumping in leafhopper insects (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Cicadellidae). J. Exp. Biol. 210:3579-3589.
- Burrows, M. , Hartung, V. and Hoch, H. (2007) Jumping behaviour in a Gondwanan relict insect. J. Exp. Biol. 210: 3311-3318.
- Rogers , S.M., Krapp, H.G., Burrows, M. and Matheson, T. (2007) Compensatory plasticity at an identified synapse tunes a visuo-motor pathway. J. Neurosci. 25: 4621-4633.
- Niven, J. E., Graham, C.M. and Burrows, M. (2007) Diversity and evolution of the insect ventral nerve cord. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 53: 14.1-14.19.
- Burrows, M. (2007) Neural control and coordination of jumping in froghopper insects. J. Neurophysiol. 97: 320-330.