The perception of touch, pain, temperature and other somatosensory modalities starts with activation of specialized receptor neurons in the body periphery. These neurons send sensory information into the spinal cord, where this input is pre-processed before being relayed to the brain.
Led by Professor Alexander Jaworski, this project investigates the development and function of a subset of neurons that is part of the somatosensory circuitry in the spinal cord. These spinal commissural neurons relay information from one side of the body to the opposite side of the nervous system. Novel genetic tools in mice are combined with viral circuit tracing approaches to elucidate the developmental origin, connectivity, and function of commissural neurons in the context of somatosensory information processing.