You are here

Wired for Touch: The Neurons and Circuits of the Somatosensory System

Weekly Seminar | Not Open to the Public
Who Should Attend: 


Every time we step out into this noisy, bustling world, a multitude of perceptions are stamped onto circuits of our brain by way of our sensory systems. Among the five senses, touch stands out as one of the most complex and perhaps least well understood, affecting almost every aspect of our everyday lives, from the way we move, feel pain, and even how we socialize with one another. The goal of our research program is to systematically unravel its complexity by uncovering the organizational logic of sensory neurons and associated spinal cord circuits responsible for translating stimuli acting upon skin into the neural codes that underlie touch perception and tactile reflexes. To do so we employ an array of mouse genetic tools to visualize and functionally manipulate both sensory subtypes as well as their post-synaptic targets in the spinal cord dorsal horn. Ongoing work aims to understand how spinal cord touch circuits modulate motor function and how rehabilitation after spinal cord injury increases plasticity of spinal cord touch circuits to facilitate recovery. Other projects in the lab are also exploring the overlapping spinal cord circuits of pain and affective touch.

Dr. Abraira's Figure


Abraira VE, Kuehn ED, Chirila AM, Springel MW, Toliver AA, Zimmerman AL, Orefice LL, Boyle KA, Bai L, Song BJ, Bashista KA, O'Neill TG, Zhuo J, Tsan C, Hoynoski J, Rutlin M, Kus L, Niederkofler V, Watanabe M, Dymecki SM, Nelson SB, Heintz N, Hughes DI, Ginty DD
The Cellular and Synaptic Architecture of the Mechanosensory Dorsal Horn.
Cell. 2017 Jan 12;168(1-2):295-310.e19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.12.010. Epub 2016 Dec 29.
Rutlin M, Ho CY, Abraira VE, Cassidy C, Bai L, Woodbury CJ, Ginty DD
The cellular and molecular basis of direction selectivity of Aδ-LTMRs.
Cell. 2014 Dec 18;159(7):1640-51. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.038.
Li L, Rutlin M, Abraira VE, Cassidy C, Kus L, Gong S, Jankowski MP, Luo W, Heintz N, Koerber HR, Woodbury CJ, Ginty DD.
The functional organization of cutaneous low-threshold mechanosensory neurons.
Cell. 2011 Dec 23;147(7):1615-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.11.027.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 12:30pm


785 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
United States
Conference Room: 
Billings Building – Rosedale

More Information

Lindsey Echevarria

Conditions & Recovery

Spinal Cord Injury icon
Around the world, between 300,000 and 500,000 people are living with a SCI.

Research Methods: 
Sensory Signal Processing