Robyn Crook

Robyn Crook

( She/Her/Hers )
Assistant Professor
City University of New York
Phone: (415) 338-1278
Location: Office Hensill Hall 421, 668A; Lab Hensill Hall 809-813

Fields: Marine Biology, Physiology

Specialties: Neurobiology, Sensory Neuroscience, Pain Physiology, Animal Behavior, Comparative Physiology, Nervous System Evolution

External Personal Website:

    I am an evolutionary biologist and behavioral neuroscientist. My lab studies the evolution and function of higher cognitive states, primarily pain. Our main animal models are cephalopods, and techniques in my lab include electrophysiology, genomics, and behavioral assays.

    We focus on plasticity in primary nociceptive neurons, looking at how this plasticity is mediated at the molecular level, and in turn, how this cellular plasticity mediates changes in neural circuits, behaviors and ultimately, the fitness of individual animals coping with injury or other painful experiences.

    I have a long standing interest in the ethical basis of research animal regulation, and in the philosophical views of scientists and members of the public relating to the use of various animal species in scientific research. Through our lab's work on the evolution and functions of pain, we seek to advance the fields of sensory neurobiology, animal behavior and physiology, and in parallel inform the debate over appropriate levels of protection for invertebrate animals used in research.

    • Butler-Struben, H.M., Brophy,S., Johnson, N., and Crook, R.J.(2018). In vivo recording of neural correlates of anesthesia induction, reversal and euthanasia in cephalopod molluscs. Front. Physiol.9:109. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00109. *equal contribution
    • Owens, M.,(…Crook, R.J.,with 42 others…) and Tanner, K. (2018). Collectively improving our teaching: Attempting Biology Department-wide professional development in scientific teaching. CBE: Life Sciences Education. March 1; 17(1):ar2
    • Seehafer, K., Brophy, S.., Tom, S. and Crook, R.J. (2018). Ontogenetic and experience-dependent changes in defensive behavior of captive bred squid, Euprymna scolopes. Front.
    • Perez, P.V., Butler-Struben, H.M., and Crook, R.J. (2017). The Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Fluoxetine increases spontaneous afferent firing, but not mechano-nociceptive sensitization, in Octopus. Invert. Neurosci. 17(4),10-12
    • Zepeda, E.A., Veline, R.J.^and Crook, R.J.(2017). Rapid associative learning and stable long term memory in the squid, Euprymna scolopes. Biol. Bull, 232(3): 212-218
    • Oshima, M., di Pauli von Treuheim, T.^, Carroll, J., Hanlon, R.T, Walters, E.T., Crook R.J.(2016).    Peripheral injury alters schooling decisions in injured squid. Behav. Processes, 128, 89-95
    • Gilmore, R.^, Crook, R.J.and Krans, J.L. (2015). Cephalopod camouflage. Nature Ed. 9(2): e1
    • Crook, R.J. and Walters, E.T (2014). Self-recognition helps octopuses avoid entanglement. Curr. Biol. 24(11) 520-521
    • Yang, Q., Wu, Z., Hadden, J., Odem, M., Zuo, Y., Crook, R.J., Frost, J. and Walters, E.T. (2014) Persistent pain after spinal cord injury is maintained by primary afferent activity. J. Neurosci.34(32) 10765-10769
    • Crook, R.J., Dickson, K.D., Hanlon, R.T and Walters, E.T. (2014). Nociceptive sensitization reduces predation risk. Curr. Biol. 24(10) 1121-1125
    • Alupay, J.S., Hadjisolomou, S.P and Crook, R.J. (2014). Arm injury produces long-term behavioral and neural hypersensitivity in octopus. Neurosci. Lett. 558, 137-142
    • Crook, R.J., Hanlon, R.T. and Walters, E.T. (2013). Squid have nociceptors that display long term sensitization and spontaneous activity after bodily injury. J. Neurosci. 33(24) 10021-10026 (cover story)
    • Crook, R.J. (2013). The welfare of invertebrates in research: Can science’s next generation improve their lot? J. Postdoct. Res, 1(2) 9-20
    • Wu. Z., Yang, Q., Crook, R.J., O'Neil, R.G. and Walters, E.T. (2013). TRPV1 channels make major contributions to behavioral hypersensitivity and spontaneous activity in nociceptors after spinal cord injury. Pain 154(10) 2130-2141
    • Matthias, N., Robinson, M.A., Crook, R.J., Lockworth, C.R. and Goodwin, B.S. (2013). Local cryoanalgesia is effective for tail-tip biopsy in mice. JAALS 52(2) 171-175
    • Crook, R.J., and Basil, J.A. (2013). Flexible spatial orientation and navigational strategies in Chambered Nautilus. Ethology 119(1) 77-85
    • Crook, R.J. and Walters, E.T. (2011). Nociceptive behavior and physiology in molluscs: Animal welfare implications. ILAR 52 (2) 185-19
    • Crook, R.J., Lewis, T., Hanlon, R.T and Walters, E.T.  (2011). Peripheral injury produces long-term sensitization of responses to tactile and visual stimuli in squid, Loligo pealei. J. Exp. Biol. 214 3173-3185