The ability of any living organism to probe and sense stimuli emanating from the surrounding environment is of fundamental importance for its well-being and survival. While a lot of progress has been made in elucidating sensory systems such as vision and olfaction, our understanding of the somatosensory system, giving rise to the detection of (painful) mechanical stimuli as well as changes in temperature, is lacking behind.
Sensory mechanisms not only monitor the outside world but also detect changes of interior parameters such as blood sugar levels, osmolarity, body temperature and many others. Processing and integration of sensory information from the outside world and the interior environment allows our body to maintain homeostasis.
Our research focuses on understanding sensory mechanisms at the molecular level and we are currently investigating 3 areas in this field: