Chris Comer

Chris Comer

Professor Emeritus

Home Department: Biological Sciences
Office: Corbin 256


BS (Biology): St. Peter's College, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1974

PhD (Biology & Neuroscience): The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1980

Post-doc: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York  (Neurobiology & Behavior) 1980-1982

Research Interests

Cellular Neurobiology and Behavior

Evolution of Neural Systems

Neural Engineering

Integration of the Humanities with the Life Sciences

Selected Publications


Comer, C. and Taggart, A. (2021)  Brain, Mind, and the Narrative Imagination.  London:  Bloomsbury Press.


Comer, CM and Baba, Y (2011) Active touch in orthopteroid insects: behaviours, multisensory substrates and evolution.  Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 366:3006-3015.

Baba, Y, Tsukada, A and Comer, CM (2010) Collision avoidance by running insects: antennal guidance in cockroaches.  J. Exp. Biol. 213:2294-2302.

Comer, C.M. (2009)  Inside the Mind of Proteus.  Current Biology 19(1): R27-R28

Baba, Y. and Comer, C.M. (2008)  The antennal motor system of the cockroach, Periplaneta Americana.  Cell Tissue Res. 331:751-762.

Park, TJ, Catania, KC, Samaan, D, and Comer, C (2007)  Convergent notes from the underground: Somatosensory organization of naked mole-rats (and those similarly challenged) emphasizes adaptability of brain and behavior.

In: "Subterranean Rodents - News from Underground," Springer-Verlag Edited by S. Begal, H. Burda, and C.E. Schleich.  pp. 175-193.

Crish, SD Dengler Crish, CM and Comer, CM (2006)  Population coding strategies and involvement of the superior colliculus in the tactile orienting behavior of naked mole-rats.  Neuroscience 139:1461-1466.

Libersat, F., Leung, V., Mizrahi, A., Mathenia, N. and Comer, C.M. (2005)

Maturation of escape circuit function during the early adulthood of cockroaches Periplaneta americana.  Journal of Neurobiology, 62:62-71

Hetling, JR, Baig-Siva, M.S., Comer, CM, Pardue, MT, Samaan, DY, Qtaishat, N.M., Pepperberg, D.R., ParK, TJ (2005) Features of visual function in the naked mole-rat Heterocephalus glaber.  J. Comp. Physiol., 191(4): 317-30.                     

Comer, C.M. and Leung, V. (2004)  The Vigilance of the Hunted: Mechanosensory-visual Integration in Insect Prey.  A Chapter In: Complex Worlds from Simpler Nervous Systems, Ed. By F. Prete,  MIT Press, pp 313-334.

Crish, S., Rice, F.L., Park, T. and Comer, C.M.  (2003)  Somatosensory organization and behavior in Naked Mole-Rats I:  Vibrissa-like body hairs comprise a sensory array that mediates orientation to tactile stimuli. 

Brain Behav. Evol. 62:141-151. Park, T., Comer, C.M., Carol, A., Lu, Y. Hong, H.-S. Rice, F.L. (2003)

Somatosensory organization and behavior in Naked Mole-Rats II: Peripheral Structures, Innervation, and Selective Lack of Neuropeptides Associated with Thermoregulation and Pain.  J. Comp. Neurol. 465: 104-120.

Ye, S., Leung, V., Khan, A., Baba, Y. and Comer, C.M. (2003)  The antennal system of the cockroach and evasive behavior. I.  Roles for Visual and mechanosensory cues in the response.  J. Comp. Physiol.  189:89-96.

Comer, C.M., Parks, L., Halvorsen, M.B., Breese-Tertelling, A. (2003) The antennal system of the cockroach and evasive behavior. II.  Stimulus identification and localization are separable antennal functions.   J. Comp. Physiol.  189:97-103.

Crish, S., Comer, C.M., Marasco, P.D. and Catania, K.C. (2003)  A Tactile Tectum?  Somatosensation in the Superior Colliculus of the Star-Nosed Mole.  J. Comp. Neurol. 464:415-425.

Artwohl J., Hill T., Comer C.M., and Park, T.  (2002)  Naked mole-rats: Unique opportunities and husbandry challenges.  Lab Anim 31(5):32-36.

Comer, C.M. and Robertson, R.M. (2001)  Identified nerve cells and insect behavior.  In: Identified Neurons in Model Systems, ed. by J.L. Leonard, Prog. Neurobiol.  63:409-439.

Specialized Research Interests

Cellular neurobiology and behavior

Human Cognition and the Literary and Visual Arts

Teaching Experience

Developmental Biology (Grad TA, at University of Chicago)

Neurophysiology of Movement (at Cornell University - with D. Daley)

Cellular Neurobiology and laboratory (at UIC)

Comparative Animal Behavior (at UIC - with AD Murphy)

Animal Physiology I: Nerve & Muscle Physiology (at UIC, team taught) 

Animal Physiology II: Physiological Systems (immunology section) 

Biology of the Brain (at UIC, team taught)

Neural Engineering (at UIC with J Hetling) 

From Molecules to Mind (at UM)

Various Graduate Seminars (neural networks & behavior)

Professional Experience

Program Officer, Behavioral Neuroscience Program, The National Science Foundation 1993-1995

Coordinator, Laboratory of Ingetrative Neuroscience, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, 1997-2001

Assistant Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Univ. Illinois at Chicago, 2001-2002

Senior Associate Dean College of Liberal Arts & Scineces, Univ, Illinois at Chicago 2002-2004

Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Univ. Illinois at Chicago 2004-2007

Dean, College of Humanities and Sciences, University of Montana Jan 2009 - Aug 2018

International Experience

Study Abroad Teaching:

Brain, Mind, and the Literary Imagination

(in Dublin Ireland, Summers)