Elucidating the mechanisms of touch, pain, and itch
The Somatosensory, Epithelial, Neuroimmune Sciences (SENse) Lab aims to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the sensations of itch, touch, and pain. Humans rely on these senses for a broad range of essential behaviors. For example, acute pain acts as a warning signal that alerts us to noxious mechanical, chemical, and thermal stimuli, which can potentially damage tissue. Likewise, itch sensations trigger reflexes that may protect us from disease-carrying insects. Despite these essential protective functions, itch and pain can outlast their usefulness and become chronic. The SENse lab uses cellular physiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, and behavioral studies to elucidate the minute mechanisms underlying itch and pain transduction under normal and pathophysiological conditions.