Grants and Contracts Details
All organisms, from the simplest bacterium to the most complex primate are capable of sensing touch. In higher vertebrates touch is transduced by sensory neurons that interact with groups of specialized somatic cells in the skin called corpuscles. To some extent the ion channels that transduce force and the types of corpuscles present in skin are evolutionarily conserved across vertebrates. Yet the organs that organisms use for tactile discrimination are incredibly diverse and specialized— think of the vibrissae in rodents and human hands. I propose that to understand general principles of tactile encoding we must also study species that fall between these two extremes, yet share features of primate hands such as glabrous skin with lamellated corpuscles: Tactile-foraging ducks. The goals of my research are: 1) To understand general principles of nervous system organization underlying touch sensation and 2) To determine which parts of the nervous system encoding touch (I.e., neural representation in primary ganglia and in the brain, corpuscles) are the most plastic during development, and 3) evolutionary timescales. My research leverages established embryology techniques with molecular, electrophysiological, trans-synaptic tracing, and imaging methods.
|Effective start/end date||9/15/20 → 9/14/24|
- Alfred P Sloan Foundation: $75,000.00
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