Malcolm Burrows is well known for his analysis of neural mechanisms controlling behaviour at the single neuron level. His early work on the motor control of eyestalk movements in crabs showed the variety of convergence patterns from different sensory inputs to the muscles, and the action of a central pattern generator.
His next studies revealed the interactions between groups of motor neurons in the control of locust walking and flight. His later analysis of the groups of non-spiking interneurons, which control groups of motor neurons, is all done with individually identified neurons and has thus brought our understanding of neural mechanisms to a more fundamental level.
Recently, his focus has turned to the analysis of the methods used by insects to produce the rapid (less than 1 millisecond) and powerful movements required for jumping. Many insects use a catapult mechanism in which energy is stored slowly in composite materials before being suddenly released. To synchronise their leg movements, some insects even use interacting gears.
Interest and expertise
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Interneurons, jumping, biomechanics, insect, energy storage, nonspiking interneurons, Animal behavior