My laboratory’s long-term goal is to understand how environmental signals shape somatosensory neuron (SSN) structure and function. SSNs shape our experience of the world, allowing for perception and discrimination of pain, touch, pressure, and movement, and are a focal point of a growing human health crisis. Nearly twenty million Americans suffer from peripheral neuropathies, and one in three individuals in the U.S. will suffer from chronic pain.
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Cell and Molecular Biology
Many biological phenomena arise from the scaling from individual interactions (e.g., between genes, proteins, metabolites, cells including neurons, organs, organisms, and species) to systems. Network approaches have transformed the study of such systems, given that the structure of networks is typically non-random and often strongly related to system-level functioning and response to perturbations. Still, many network structural features are associated with clear trade-offs.
Cells of diverse organisms, from cyanobacteria to humans, execute temporal programs that are driven by circadian oscillators. The circadian clock of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus is a discrete nanomachine comprising three proteins – KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC – which interact progressively to set up the timekeeping mechanism, and two kinases whose activities are altered by engaging the Kai oscillator.