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Photo of Roy E. Ritzmann Roy E. Ritzman

Roy Ritzmann is Professor in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Roy grew up in Chicago, Illinois before attending the University of Iowa for his undergraduate degree where his interest in invertebrate neurobiology was begun while working with H.B. Hartman on crab sensory structures. After graduation he attended the University of Virginia for his Ph.D. working on the control of a novel mechanical behavior, the snapping movement of the snapping shrimp with his advisor DeForest Mellon, Jr. He then moved to Cornell University's section of Neurobiology and Behavior where he began working with insects in Jeff Camhi's laboratory. Of even greater significance, was the fact that he met his wife, Joanne Westin, while working in Camhi's laboratory, which ultimately resulted in his greatest achievement, his three daughters. He continued his studies of the escape system in cockroaches that were begun at Cornell, when he moved to Case Western Reserve University in 1977. Along with his students and co-workers, he published numerous articles on the neural circuitry underlying escape movements. Then in 1990 he joined a group of investigators including Randall Beer, Hillel Chiel and Roger Quinn who were interested in modeling animal movements and using that information to design and build agile robots. This "part time" occupation has now taken over his laboratory which focuses totally upon issues of how insects walk, climb over barriers and jump. The interaction, in particular with the engineers in the Quinn Biorobotics laboratory, has been especially rewarding, because the biologists benefit from the engineering as much as the engineers exploit the biological data.

See Roy Ritzmann's answers to Ask the Scientists questions.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.