“Using optogenetics to probe hair cell function in zebrafish”
Josef G. Trapani, PhD, Amherst College, Amherst MA 01002
Mechanotransduction-the conversion of mechanical stimuli (like sound waves) into neuronal information-is accomplished in sensory hair cells with impressive speed and accuracy. Similar to most sensory receptors, hair cell mechanotransduction undergoes adaptation in the presence of a sustained stimulus. The exact mechanism responsible for this reduction in hair cell activity is not well understood, but it is thought to involve at least two distinct mechanisms. Using an optogenetic method of hair cell stimulation, this project will examine adaptation and attempt to discriminate between these different mechanisms. Our research takes advantage of the accessibility of hair cells in the zebrafish lateral-line system and uses an intact, in vivo preparation to study sensory encoding in hair cells.
Josef G. Trapani
Assistant Professor Biology Department and Neuroscience Program
Amherst MA 01002
Phone: (413) 542-5523
Fax: (413) 542-7955