How do we sense the world? Lessons from worms to mice



Time: 10:00-11:30 on Thur.,Feb.22, 2024

Venue:Room 143, New Biology Building

Speaker: Dr. Shawn Xu

Host: Dr. Guangshuo Ou

Title: How do we sense the world? Lessons from worms to mice





The environment has a profound impact on animal behavior and physiology. The ability to sense environmental cues is essential for an animal‛s life. Dr. Xu‛s lab investigates how animals detect sensory cues — such as temperature, touch, light, sound, and chemicals — through different sensory receptors and channels and the influence these sensory stim uli have on behavior, and on genetic programs affecting health and longevity. To address these questions, Dr. Xu uses both C. elegans and mouse models. To survive and adapt to the ever-changing environment, C. elegans has evolved a rich repertoire of sensory systems and has emerged as a powerful genetic model to identify and characterize novel sensory receptors and channels. Because many sensory receptors and channels are evolutionarily conserved, Dr. Xu‛s lab also investigate their roles in somatosensation and pain in mammals using mouse models. To do so, Dr. Xu takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining molecular genetics, behavioral analysis, functional imaging and electrophysiology. In this seminar, Dr. Xu will present his recent work on dissecting how animals sense mechanical stimuli and temperature through novel sensors.


Selected Publications:

1.The kainate receptor GluK2 mediates cold sensing in mice. Nature Neuroscience (in press) 2024 

2.The nematode C. elegans senses airborne sound. Neuron 2021 

3.Olfactory perception of food abundance regulates dietary restriction-mediated longevity via a brain-to-gut signal. Nature Aging 2021 

4.A cold-sensing receptor encoded by a glutamate receptor gene. Cell 2019 

5.The C. elegans taste receptor homolog LITE-1 is a photoreceptor. Cell 2016