- William Gilly
William F. Gilly is a biologist specializing in the study of
cephalopods. He was involved with the television special " The Future is Wild".
Gilly received a BSE (Electrical Engineering, 1972) from
Princeton Universityand a Ph.D. (Physiology and Biophysics, 1978) from Washington University in St. Louis. He had additional training at Yale University, University of Pennsylvaniaand the Marine Biological Laboratoryat Woods Hole. Over the last 30 years he has contributed to the basic understanding of electrical excitability in nerve and muscle cells in a wide range of organisms ranging from brittle-stars to mammals. Much of this work employed the giant axon system of the squid as an experimental model system for molecular and biophysical approaches. Additional physiological studies made in the living squid revealed unexpected complexities in how the giant axon system controls escape responses, and how mechanisms governing that control are subject to modification by environmental factors like temperature and during normal development.
Gilly's current research program on squid concentrates on the behavior and physiology of "Dosidicus gigas", the jumbo or
Humboldt squid. Fieldwork in the Gulf of California and off Monterey Bay employs a variety of tagging methodologies in order to track short-term vertical migrations as well as long-distance migrations. Laboratory studies at Hopkins Marine Station and onboard research vessel are focused on the physiology of hypoxia tolerance and on control of chromatophores, the color-changing organs in the skin.
Research on venomous cone snails (genus "Conus") is also currently being carried out. This work is exploring the biological factors that lead to toxin diversity within an individual species and mechanisms by which toxins are produced, selected for use and delivered. Tropical species as well as a temperate, local species ("Conus californicus") are studied.
Members of Professor Gilly's laboratory have gone on to faculty positions at the University of Washington, University of Utah, University of Pennsylvania, Albert Einstein Medical College and University of Puerto Rico.
* [http://gilly.stanford.edu/ Gilly Lab] at Stanford University
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