Sidney A. Simon, Ph.D., PI
Dr. Simon's laboratory studies the interaction of chemical stimuli with cultured and intact trigeminal ganglion neurons and taste receptor cells in culture, in anesthetized and in awake behaving animals. We investigate how chemicals that are either bitter and/or irritating (e.g., nicotine, capsaicin, colloidal particles) interact with particular types of receptors (e.g. nicotinic acetylcholine receptors or vanilloid receptors) to produce a bitter or irritating or painful sensation. We also investigate how these compounds evoke responses in various cortical regions (e.g. the insular cortex). Our overall goal is to obtain an understanding of the events from the molecular to the behavioral levels that underlie gustatory and irritating sensations produced by chemical stimuli. We collaborate with the Nicolelis and Reinhart laboratories.
Another focus of Dr. Simon's laboratory is to investigate the physical chemical interactions that occur when peptides bind with membranes. To date we have focussed on leader sequences. This work is in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Tom McIntosh in the Cell Biology Department.