Evolutionary Biology of Octopus Brain & Development
The octopus is rich in evolutionary novelties, from an immense nervous system to prehensile arms to a tremendously sophisticated adaptive coloration system. It is the octopus's brain and behavior that has attracted the greatest study, but much of this research was done in the 20th century and limited by the techniques of the time. The major focus of the Ragsdale laboratory is to bring the modern advances in neuroscience and molecular cell biology to the study of octopus biology. Current research includes comparative cephalopod genomics, arm regeneration, and octopus embryogenesis, which is unlike that of any non-cephalopod mollusc and appears convergent with that of vertebrates.
The second focus of the Ragsdale laboratory is the evolutionary developmental neurobiology of the neocortex.