Organization and function of proprioceptive systems

The proprioceptive system endows animals with an ability to sense body position.  This sense is often taken for granted in our daily lives, in that we "intuitively" know where our hands and legs are as we move about, but this information is provided by an array of sensory neurons that are precisely positioned to detect body movements.  This capacity is critically required not only for limbed organisms but also for animals with soft bodies and lacking limbs, such as Drosophila larvae.  We study the functional organization of the proprioceptive system of Drosophila larvae.  Because this system can be studied cell-by-cell during behavior we hope to uncover general properties of proprioception that can be applied to more complex systems that are more difficult to study.