Mouse pain scales and neural circuits for social touch

February 16, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, hosted by Jennifer Li

Duke Neurobiology welcomes Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.
For connection info to his Zoom seminar "Mouse pain scales and neural circuits for social touch", email d.shipman@duke.edu.
Abstract: Our research focuses on a long-standing question, "how does the nervous system encode responses to different types of tactile stimulation, e.g., a pleasurable soft caress versus a painful pin prick?" To accomplish this, we have developed a novel method to measure pain-an inherently subjective experience-using quantitative, objective criteria. This approach involves creating objective "pain scales" in the mouse using high-speed videography, computation, mathematical modeling, machine learning, and customized software (Abdus-Saboor et al., Cell Reports, 2019; Jones...Abdus-Saboor, eLife, 2020). In more recent ongoing studies, we are studying the role of mechanical stimulation across the skin's surface, and its importance for development and for forming tight social bonds. While we appreciate that touch drives many behaviors that govern our lives, the neural circuit mechanisms from skin-to-brain, that promote touch dependent behaviors remain poorly defined. Here, we are using mouse genetics to test for necessity and sufficiency of molecular classes of peripheral sensory neurons in promoting normal development and social interactions.