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Dr. Matthias Gruhn

Research Interests

My main interest is to understand the neuronal control of complex movements during walking, such as during curve walking. How is the nervous system capable to generate different kinematics in the different legs during changing behavior? I am currently particularly interested in the role of behavior-dependent processing of load feedback. Another interest is the implementation of digital approaches in university teaching.

  • 2005-present: Research Associate at the Department for Zoology, University of Cologne, Germany
  • 2000-2004: Postdoctoral associate in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, with Prof. Dr. Ronald Harris-Warrick
  • Oct. 2000: PhD defense at the University of Konstanz
  • 1996-2000: PhD program in neurobiology at the University of Konstanz, Germany, with Prof. Dr.Werner Rathmayer
  • 1994-1995: diploma thesis at the Institute for Genetics with Prof. Dr. Erich Buchner
  • 1992-1993: Fulltime graduate exchange student at the State University of New York at Albany, with a full stipend from SUNY Albany
  • 1989-1995: biology student at the University of Würzburg, Germany

Honors and Awards

  • 2008, Travel and Visit to workshop “Neuromechanics of Locomotion”, MBI, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Mai -Aug. 2002, Grass Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA
  • Doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) at the University of Konstanz, Germany
  • 1997, travel/research stipend of the SFB 156, to the lab of Prof. Dr. Andries ter Maat, at the Vrieje Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1992 - 1993, full graduate studies stipend and tuiton waver in the Würzburg-SUNY at Albany - exchange program



  • Weigelt, CM , Hahn, O., Arlt, K., Gruhn, M. , Jahn, A., Eßer, J., Werner, J.A., Klein, C., Büschges, A., Grönke, S., Partridge, L. (2019), Loss of miR-210 leads to progressive retinal degeneration in Drosophila melanogaster“. Life Science Alliance, DOI 10.26508/lsa.201800149
  • Haberkorn, A., Gruhn, M., Zill, S.N., Büschges, A. (2019). „Identification of the origin of force-feedback signals influencing motor neurons of the thoraco-coxal joint in an insect”. J Comp. Physiol. A (2019) 205:253–270.
  • Godlewska-Hammel, E., Büschges, A. Gruhn, M. (2017) Fiber-type distribution in insect leg muscles parallels similarities and differences in the functional role of insect walking legs. J Comp Physiol A (2017).
  • Gruhn M, Rosenbaum P, Bockemühl T, Büschges A (2016). Body side-specific control of motor activity during turning in a walking animal. eLife, published April 27, 2016; cite as: eLife 2016;10.7554/eLife.13799
  • Schmitz J.1, Gruhn M1, Büschges A. (2015). "The Role of Leg Touchdown for the Control of Locomotor Activity in the Walking Stick Insect" J.Neurophysiol. 113 (7): 2309-2320
  • Knops S., Tóth T. I., Guschlbauer C., Gruhn M., Daun-Gruhn S. (2013) “A neuromechanical model for the neuronal basis of curve walking in the stick insect.“ J.Neurophysiol., 109:679-691.
  • Berendes V., Dübbert M., Bockemühl T., Schmitz J., Büschges A., Gruhn M. (2013). “A laser-supported lowerable surface setup to study the role of ground contact during stepping”. J.Neurosci. Methods, 215: 224-233
  • Wosnitza, A., Engelen J., Gruhn M. (2013). “Segment-specific and State-dependent Targeting Accuracy of the Stick Insect” J.Exp.Biol.,216 (22):  4172-4183.
  • Gruhn, M., Rosenbaum, P., Bollhagen, H.-P., Büschges, A. (2011). “Studying the neural basis of adaptive locomotor behavior in insects”. JoVE 50, hhp://, doi:10.3791/2629
  • Borgmann A, Toth TI, Gruhn M, Daun-Gruhn S, Büschges A. (2011). „Dominance of local sensory signals over inter-segmental effects in a motor system: experiments.“Biol Cybern., 105 (5-6): 399-411.
  • Rosenbaum, P., Wosnitza, A., Büschges, A., Gruhn, M. (2010). “Activity patterns and timing of muscle activity in the forward walking and backward walking stick insect Carausius morosus”. J.Neurophysiol. 104(3):1681-1695
  • Gruhn, M., Zehl, L., and Büschges A. (2009), “Straight Walking and Turning on the Slippery Surface”, J.Exp.Biol., 212:194-209
  • Hooper, SL, Guschelbauer, C., Blümel, M., Rosenbaum, P.,Gruhn, M., Akay, T., Büschges A., (2009), “Neural Control of Unloaded Leg Posture and of Leg Swing in Stick Insect, Cockroach, and Mouse Differs from that in Larger Animals” Journal of Neuroscience, 29(13):4109–4119.
  • Gruhn, M., v.Uckermann, G., Westmark, S., Wosnitza, A., Büschges, A. and Borgmann, A. (2009), “Control of Stepping Velocity in the Stick Insect Carausius morosus”, J.Neurophysiol., 102:1180-1192
  • Büschges, A., Gruhn, M (2008) The role of mechanosensory feedback for insect walking pattern generation: from joint control to adaptive locomotor behavior Adv.Insect Physiology, Vol.34:194-229
  • Gruhn, M., Hofmann, O., Dübbert, M., Scharstein, H., and Büschges, A (2006) “Tethered Stick Insect Walking: A modified Slippery Surface Setup with Optomotor Stimulation and Electrical Monitoring of Tarsal Contact.”, J. Neurosci. Methods 158: 195-206
  • Gruhn, M., Guckenheimer, J. and Harris-Warrick, R.M., (2005) “Properties of IK-delayed rectifier-type currents in the pyloric cells of the lobster stomatogastric system and their modulation by dopamine” J Neurophysiol. 94(4): 2888-2900
  • Gruhn, M. and Rathmayer, W. (2002), „An implantable electrode design for chronic nerve recording and stimulation in freely behaving crayfish”. J.Neurosci.Meth., 118:33-40
  • Gruhn, M. and Rathmayer, W. (2002), “Phenotype plasticity in postural muscles of the crayfish Orconectes limosus Raf.: Correlation of myofibrillar ATPase based fiber typing with electrophysiological properties, and the effect of chronic nerve stimulation.” J.Exp.Zool., 293:127-140.
  • Eberle, K.K., Zinsmaier, K.E., Buchner, S., Gruhn, M., Jenni, M., Arnold, C., Leibold, C., Reisch, D., Walter, N., Hafen, E., Hofbauer, A., Pflugfelder, G.O., Buchner, E. (1998), "Wide Distribution of the Cysteine String Proteins in Drosophila Tissues Revealed by Targeted Mutagenesis", Cell Tissue Res., Vol.294, pp 203-217.
  • Melzig, J., Burg, M., Gruhn, M., Pak, W.L., and Buchner, E. (1998), "Selective Histamine Uptake Rescues Photo- and Mechanoreceptor Function of Histamine Decarboxylase-Deficient Drosophila Mutant", J.Neurosci., Sept.15th, Vol.18(18), pp. 7160-7166.
  • Jacklet, J.W. and Gruhn, M. (1994), "Co-localization of NADPH-diaphorase and myomodulin in synaptic glomeruli of Aplysia", NeuroReport 5, pp 1841-1844.
  • Jacklet, J.W. and Gruhn, M. (1994), "Nitric Oxide as a Putative  Transmitter in Aplysia: Neural Circuits and Membrane Effects", The Netherlands Journal of Zoology, 44 (3-4): pp 524-534.

Review Articles and Book Chapters

  • Büschges, A., Gruhn, M (2008) The role of mechanosensory feedback for insect walking pattern generation: from joint control to adaptive locomotor behavior Adv.Insect Physiology, Vol.34:194-229
  • Büschges, A., Daun-Gruhn, S., Gruhn, M., Schmidt, J. (2013). "The Complexity of the Ordinary - The Neural Control of Locomotion", in: S. Leyssen, P.Rathgeber (eds) "Bilder animierter Bewegung/Images of Animate Movement", Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München, pp.253-276.