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​Our Research 

The Priel lab studies pain receptors and their response to injury and inflammation. Currently, we aim at discovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the unique ability of the pain system to accurately detect and respond to noxious stimuli. To this end, we focus on ligand-gated ion channels expressed by nociceptors, which are sensory neurons that respond to various chemicals (i.e., chemosensing). Our work centers on a class of pain receptors, the TRP channels, that detects a broad range of chemicals (ranging from protons to complex proteins) from endogenous and exogenous sources. By taking advantage of plant and animal toxins that were specifically evolved to modulate the pain pathway, we analyze the structural and functional channel elements governing chemosensation. Also, we are studying how pain pathway-specific GPCRs modulate the somatosensory TRP channels. To achieve these goals, the lab employs a variety of methods, including molecular pharmacology, protein and peptide biochemistry, molecular biology, electrophysiology, primary and secondary cell cultures, and live-cell imaging.