We study sensory nerves, the gatekeepers of information input to the nervous system. These cells detect and, to a certain extent, decode the information from our surroundings. Activity of these nerves initiates a long chain of events that ultimately leads to cognition. Our main focus is identifying and studying the genes that enable sensory nerves to detect physical and chemical cues from our environment such as touch, temperature, and chemical irritants. These receptors are vital for our survival, their activity often warning us of potential harm. The fascinating molecular diversity of sensory nerves provides a rich tapestry for these studies. We use electrophysiology, fluorescent imaging, and advanced molecular biological techniques in our investigations. We also develop new techniques, combining genome engineering and high-throughput cell sorting technology to identify new target proteins.

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