Sensory Systems and Integration

Lab head: Dr. Aaron Camp
Location: E501, Anderson Stuart Bld, (F13), camperdown campus

Lab members: Dr. Aaron Camp- Head Mr. Rajiv Wijesinghe- Research Assistant
Funding: Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial foundation Project grant $298,000
Research approach equipment: We use patch-clamp electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry to answer questions about how individual neurons process information.

A question of Balance: Development of the vestibular sensory epithelium

Primary supervisor: Aaron Camp


Airplanes, submarines and even our humble phones use sophisticated guidance systems to allow them to navigate through the environment. Amazingly, vertebrates have used an analogous system for billions of years! This system is called the vestibular or “balance” system. To understand how our vestibular system allows us to maintain balance under normal conditions, how disease impairs this ability, and how balance signals are ultimately combined with those of other senses to enable navigation through our complex world, we need to know how individual cells in the vestibular system process information. Using patch-clamp electrophysiological techniques and immunohistochemistry, you will investigate the physiological development of signals used by our central nervous system to maintain posture and balance. Specifically, you will characterize the major underlying conductances (sodium, potassium, and calcium) in each type of balance detector (type I and II hair cells) over the course of mouse development (birth to adult). This information is crucial to establish a timeline that can be used to pinpoint critical periods in the development of human vestibular function.



Figure: Immunohistochemistry of the human vestibular sensory epithelium, and representative traces from a human and mouse type I hair cell

Discipline: Biomedical Sciences
Keywords: Neurosciences, Vision, Sensory physiology, Vestibular