Illuminating proprioceptive mechanosensation

Towards a unifying principle of mechanosensation

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In our lab we investigate how mechanical forces influences cellular functions. We have previously shown that the mechanical properties of force-sensitive neurons are important for their function to sense touch. Our next big goal is to explore the molecular pathways leading to neuronal activation due to mechanical stress. We are specifically interested in mechanotransduction process in living animals on the single protein level and use optical tweezers to investigate the force transmission pathways together with computer simulations of C elegans nervous system activity to understand how collective ion channel dynamics under force govern behavioral decisions during proprioception.

To obtain a broader insight into the mechanics of mechanosensation, we use C elegans and Drosophila locomotion behavior as a model for mechanosensation in general and proprioception in particular. We aim to shed light into the molecular and mechanical mechanism of how cells sense mechanical stimuli and strive towards a unifying principle of mechanosensation.