Our senses rely on transformation. From the touch of a hand, to the sight of a friend, to the sound of a child, each is transformed into a neural code that ultimately leads to perception. The Duncan Laboratory team is interested in the early stages of the transformation of sound in the cochlea. Our overall goal is to understand the molecular physiology of sensory cells in the ear and the nerves that innervate them. We approach the study of these excitable cells in three inter-related areas: ion channel structure-function, development and maturation and trauma and regeneration.
The onset of hearing is marked by a tightly orchestrated chain of events, beginning with fate specification in development and crescendoing to the mature hearing organ. Several active and interrelated projects weave back and forth between development and regeneration, molecular structure and physiological function. We leverage amazing collaborative efforts at U-M and beyond to employ a wide range of experimental techniques, spanning neuroscience, cell biology, stem cell therapy, in vitro and in vivo physiology and tissue engineering.