Molecules and Cells for Touch and Pain


(为配合学校疫情防控工作,请扫码报名,实名制参会!校外人员请线上参会。 )

欢迎校外观众线上参会, Zoom-会议 ID:860 166 6999

Time: 9:00-10:30 on Tue., February. 23,2021 

Venue:  Zoom:860 166 6999

Speaker:Alexander Chesler

Host: Dr.Bailong Xiao

Title:Molecules and Cells for Touch and Pain


The central question guiding my research is how sensory input is detected and processed by the brain to evoke specific behaviors. My work focuses on identifying peripheral somatosensory neurons tuned to specific types of stimuli, the molecules they use for transduction, and the neural circuits that they activate. Through my research I seek to understand the basis by which some stimuli are perceived as innocuous while others noxious and how these distinctions are modulated by physiological state or prior experience. The hope is that improving our knowledge of these basic mechanisms will be useful in developing new therapeutic approaches for treating acute and chronic pain. My lab uses mouse genetics, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, in vivo two-photon imaging, and behavior to study how sensory stimuli are detected and encoded. Together, these approaches help us to better understand the importance of specific molecules for the responses of defined classes of sensory neurons (Ghitani et al 2017, Neuron; von Buchholtz*, Ghitani* et al 2021, Neuron) and to map neural pathways for touch and pain (Barik et al 2018, Neuron; Barik et al BioRxiv). In parallel, we have identified a cohort of patients with a rare inherited disorder affecting mechanosenstion due to damaging mutations in the gene PIEZO2 (Chesler et al. 2016, New England Journal of Medicine). Studying these patients helped define the role of this particular gene in human mechanosensation and allowed us to probe basic questions about the role select sensory inputs play in perception (Nickolls et al 2020, Cell Reports; Marshal et al 2020, Nature). Most importantly, working with these patients allows us ask questions about human experience that, by definition, are impossible to answer using animal models. We are now positioned to take what we learn from these patients to guide our studies in mice and vice versa (Szczot et al 2018, Science Translational Medicine; Case et al 2021, Nature Communications).