We use the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate aspects of neuronal development and function. The wealth of developmental, anatomical, genetic, and molecular information available for C. elegans provides a powerful and multifaceted approach to these studies. Our work has focused on the study of a set of six neurons that are the sensory receptors for gentle touch (the touch receptor neurons, or TRNs), to address two questions: 1) How is neuronal cell fate determined? and 2) What is the molecular basis of mechanosensation, a sensory modality that underlies a variety of senses (e.g., touch, hearing, and balance)? We also work on neuronal degeneration, microtubule structure and function, and channel structure and function, and we develop methodologies to further scientific discovery.
Two former members of the lab, research technician Matt Walker (https://www.biology.columbia.edu/news/six-biology-phd-students-honored-2022-nsf-graduate-research-fellowship-program-grfp) and undergraduate Mona Liu (www.biology.columbia.edu/news/seven-columbia-college-graduates-awarded-2022-nsf-graduate-research-fellowships), have been award NSF graduate student research fellowships.
We welcome Kathy to the Chalfie lab family!
Marty will serve as President-Elect on the Executive Committee in 2021.