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Cell and Molecular Biology

Environmental control of somatosensory neuron development and function

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.

Overcoming Structure / Stability Trade-offs in Ecological Networks

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.

A conserved morphogenetic mechanism for epidermal ensheathment of nociceptive sensory neurites

Jiang N, Rasmussen JP, Clanton JA, Rosenberg MF, Luedke KP, Cronan MR, Parker ED, Kim H-J, Vaughan JC, Sagasti A et al..  2019.  A conserved morphogenetic mechanism for epidermal ensheathment of nociceptive sensory neurites. Elife. 8

A Day in the Life of a Cyanobacterium: integrating temporal and environmental information

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.


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