Ian Woods

Associate Professor, Biology


Presentations & Publications


"Bach and the Brain" invited talk at Baldwin Wallace University's Bach Festival, April 2015

Poster presentation. "Neuropeptidergic signaling partitions arousal behaviors in larval zebrafish". 6th Aquatic Animals for Human Diseases Conference. Milwaukee, WI.  June-July. 2013

Animals modulate arousal state to ensure that their sensory responsiveness and locomotor activity match environmental demands. Neuropeptides have been implicated in arousal, but studies of their roles in vertebrates have been constrained by the vast array of neuropeptides, their pleiotropic effects, and behavioral complexity. To overcome these limitations, we systematically dissected the neuropeptidergic modulation of arousal in larval zebrafish. We genetically overexpressed evolutionarily-conserved neuropeptides (adcyap1b, cart, cck, cgrp, galanin, hcrt, and pnoc) and quantified spontaneous and stimulus-evoked locomotor behaviors. Our study reveals that arousal behaviors are dissociable. For example, neuropeptide expression uncoupled spontaneous locomotor activity, a measure of endogenous arousal, from responsiveness to sensory stimuli, a measure of exogenous arousal. Both endogenous and exogenous arousal behaviors could be further partitioned into discrete parameters, including modality-specific changes in sensory responsiveness and distinct characteristics of voluntary locomotion. Principal components analysis and phenotypic clustering revealed both shared and divergent features of neuropeptidergic functions: hcrt and cgrp stimulated voluntary locomotion, whereas galanin and pnoc attenuated these behaviors. In contrast, cart and adcyap1b increased sensory responsiveness yet had minimal impacts on voluntary locomotor activity, while cck expression induced the opposite effects. Furthermore, hcrt and pnoc induced modality-specific differences in responsiveness to changes in illumination. Our study provides the first systematic high-throughput analysis of neuropeptidergic modulation of arousal, demonstrates that arousal is partitioned into independent behavioral components, and indicates ancestral and conserved functions of neuropeptides in regulating arousal.

Presentation on personal Peace Corps experience.  Peace Corps Information Session, Career Services Office, Ithaca College. November 2011, November 2012, November 2013.

Seminar Speaker: Hamilton College  Department of Biology. September 9, 2013.

Seminar Speaker: Colgate University Department of Biology. February 26, 2013.

Invited speaker for Cornell History Dept. Class "International Humanitarianism," May 2012, May 2013.

Presentation at International Conference on Stress and Behavior: Neuropeptide modulation of arousal behaviors in larval zebrafish. June 2012.

Seminar Speaker: Cornell University Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. August 12, 2012.

Seminar Speaker: Syracuse University Department of Biology. November 11, 2012.


† = undergraduate co-author

Woods IG, Imam FB (2015) Transcriptome analysis of severe hypoxic stress during development in zebrafish. Genomics Data 6: 83-88.

†Conklin EE, †Lee KL, †Schlabach SA, Woods IG (2015) VideoHacking: Automated tracking and quantification of locomotor behavior with open source software and off-the-shelf video equipment. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 13(3): A120-125.

Liu J, Merkle FT, Gandhi AV, Gagnon JA, Woods IG, Chiu CN, Shimogori T, Schier AF Prober DA (2015) Evolutionarily Conserved Regulation of Hypocretin Neuron Specification by Lhx9. Development 142(6): 1113-1124.

Woods IG, Schoppik D, †Shi VJ, Zimmerman S, †Coleman HA, Greenwood J, Soucy ER, Schier AF. (2014) Neuropeptidergic signaling partitions arousal behaviors in zebrafish. Journal of Neuroscience 34(9): 3142-3160.

Richter C, Woods IG, and Schier AF. (2014) Neuropeptidergic control of sleep and wakefulness. Annu Rev Neurosci 37: 503-531.

Varshney GK, Lu J, Gildea D, Huang H, Pei W, Yang Z, Huang SC, Schoenfeld DS, Pho N, Casero D, Hirase T, Mosbrook-Davis DM, Zhang S, Jao LE, Zhang B, Woods IG, Zimmerman S, Schier AF, Wolfsberg T, Pellegrini M, Burgess SM, and Lin S. (2013) A large-scale zebrafish gene knockout resource for the genome-wide study of gene function. Genome Research, Feb 4.

*Low SE, *Woods IG, Lachance M, Ryan J, Schier AF, Saint-Amant L. (2012) Touch responsiveness in zebrafish requires voltage-gated calcium channel 2.1b. J Neurophysiol. 128(1): 149-58.

*Denotes equal contribution

Vastenhouw NL,  Zhang Y, Woods IG,  Imam F, Regev A, Lui XS, Rinn, J, and Schier AF.  (2010)  Chromatin signature of embryonic pluripotency is established during zygotic genome activation.  Nature 464(7290): 922-926.

Woods IG and Schier AF.  (2008)  Targeted mutagenesis in zebrafish.  Nature Biotechnology 26:650-651.

Woods IG, Lyons DA, Voas MG, Pogoda HM, and Talbot WS.  (2006)  nsf is required for organization of myelinated axons in zebrafish.  Curr Biol. 16(7): 636-48.

Pogoda, H-M, Sternheim N, Lyons DA, Diamond B, Hawkins TA, Woods IG et al., (2006) A genetic screen identifies genes essential for development of myelinated axons in zebrafish.  Dev Biol 298(1): 118-181.

Woods IG, Wilson C, Friedlander B, Chang P, Reyes D et al.  (2005)  The zebrafish gene map defines ancestral vertebrate chromosomes.  Genome Research 15(9):  1307-1314.

Woods IG and Talbot WS.  (2005)  The you gene encodes an EGF-CUB protein essential for Hedgehog signaling in zebrafish.  PLoS Biology 3(3): e66. 

Lyons D, Pogoda HM, Voas M, Woods IG, Diamond B, Nix R, Arana N, Jacobs J, and Talbot WS.  (2005)  erbb3 and erbb2 are essential for Schwann cell migration and myelination in zebrafish.  Curr Biol  15(6):513-24.

Stickney HL, Schmutz J, Woods IG, Holtzer CC, Dickson MC et al. (2002) Rapid mapping of zebrafish mutations with SNPs and oligonucleotide microarrays. Genome Research 12(12): 1929-1934.

Woods IG, Kelly PD, Chu F, Ngo-Hazelett P, Yan YL et al. (2000) A comparative map of the zebrafish genome. Genome Research 10(12): 1903-1914.

Postlethwait JH, Woods IG, Ngo-Hazelett P, Yan YL, Kelly PD et al. (2000) Zebrafish comparative genomics and the origins of vertebrate chromosomes. Genome Research 10(12): 1890-1902. 

Kelly PD, Chu F, Woods IG, Ngo-Hazelett P, Cardozo T et al. (2000) Genetic linkage mapping of zebrafish genes and ESTs. Genome Research 10(4): 558-567.