Principal Investigator
Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Simon Lab

Simon Lab

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.

Simon Image Gallery

Simon Lab 1

Simon Lab 2
Probability of one neuron firing to a tastant with respect to the firing of another to a different tastant.
Simon Lab 3
Current clamp recording of a capsaicin sensitive neuron that was reversibly inhibited by nicotine.
Simon Lab 4
Synthetic particles interacting with lung cells from the upper and lower airways.
Simon Lab 5
Nicotine sensitizes the response to capsaicin activated TRPV1 channels.
Simon Lab 6
Blocking TRPV1 receptors inhibits particulate matter induced apoptosis.
Simon Lab 7
Particles associated with ling cells induce apoptosis but not necrosis.
Simon Lab 8
Results of a single unit recorded from rat orbitofrontal cortex that decreases when the rat begins to lick for a tastant.
Simon Lab 9
Effect of membrane properties of effect of melittin induced permeability. Tom McIntosh and Daniel Allende.