Paul Fuchs

John E. Bordley Professor of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery

Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: 818 Ross Bldg.

Telephone: (410) 955-6311
Fax: (410) 614-4748



Research summary

The Fuchs laboratory uses cellular electrophysiology, immunolabeling and electron microscopy to study synaptic connections between sensory hair cells and neurons in the cochlea.  One effort focuses on an unusual cholinergic receptor that mediates efferent inhibition of hair cells, driving discovery of the molecular mechanisms, and offering a target for protection against acoustic trauma.  A second topic concerns the small number of unmyelinated ‘type II’ afferent neurons whose synaptic connectivity and response properties argue for a role as the pathway for noxious (too loud) sound.   Our studies are motivated by curiosity about fundamental mechanisms, and to provide a foundation for understanding cochlear pathogenesis.


Fuchs Lab

Mike Caterina

Professor of Biological Chemistry
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

JHU School of Medicine
725 N. Wolfe St. 408 Biophysics Building
Baltimore, MD21205
Office Phone: 410-502-5457
Lab Phone: 410-614-1230
Fax: 410-955-5759

Research summary

Dr. Caterina’s laboratory studies the mechanisms for detecting, transmitting and perceiving thermal sensations and pain. Using molecular genetic and behavioral approaches, his group has established the role of mammalian Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) family of channels in thermosensation. These channels, first identified by Dr Caterina when he was a postdoctoral fellow, are responsible for the >pungency of hot peppers, painful heat as well as the cooling sensation on menthol. Currently his lab is elucidating the roles of temperature-gated TRP channels in nonneuronal cells such as skin keratinocytes; and a novel form of activity-dependent plasticity in TRP channel signaling.

Caterina Lab

Angelika Doetzlhofer

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
855 North Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205

Room: 433 Rangos

Telephone: (410) 614-9215
Fax: (443) 287-7672

Email: adoetzlhofer@jhmi.edu


Research summary

A main goal of Dr. Doetzlhofer’s laboratory is to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms of hair cell development in the mammalian auditory system. She would also like  to identify the molecular roadblocks preventing mammalian hair cell regeneration. In mammals, hair cell generation is limited to embryonic development. Lost hair cells are not replaced leading to deafness and balance disorders. However, in non-mammalian vertebrates, supporting cells undergo a process of de-differentiation after hair cell loss, and are able to replace lost hair cells by either cell division or direct trans-differentiation. Her experiments suggest that the lack of mammalian hair cell regeneration is likely due to an absence or blockage of regenerative signals.

Doetzhofer Lab

Xinzhong Dong

Associate Professor

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
Dept. of Neuroscience
725 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: 908 Wood Basic Science Building

Telephone: 410-502-2993



Research summary

Dr. Dong, trained in molecular neuroscience, has identified many genes specifically expressed in primary sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG). He is interested in studying the function of these genes in pain and itch sensation by multiple approaches including molecular biology, mouse genetics, mouse behavior, and electrophysiology.

The laboratory will use these genes as molecular tools to understand the cellular properties of different subtypes of DRG neurons with respect to neuronal circuitry in central projection and pain and itch modalities. The laboratory also is investigating the molecular mechanism of how skin mast cells sensitize sensory nerves under inflammatory states.

Dong Lab


Elisabeth Glowatzki

Associate Professor

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
The Center for Hearing and Balance
720 Rutland Ave.
Baltimore MD 21205

Room: 824 Ross Building

Telephone: 410-502-7008
Fax: 410-614-4748



Research summary

Dr. Glowatzki received her doctoral degree from the University of Kaiserslautern for her work on the biophysics of ligand-gated ion channels.  After postdoctoral training in Germany and England, she moved to Johns Hopkins where she began her studies of synaptic signaling by mechanosensory hair cells of the mammalian cochlea. This work is aimed at  understanding fundamental details of synaptic function in hair cells. It is providing essential insights into how neurotransmitters are released and act at this first stage in the transmission of sound to the brain.

Glowatzki Lab

Jeremy Nathans

Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
725 North Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205

Room: Preclinical Teaching Building #805

Telephone: (410) 955-4679
Fax: (410) 614-0827



Research summary

Dr. Nathans began working on human vision during his graduate studies. After postdoctoral training at Genentech, Dr. Nathans joined the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He holds appointments in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology. The principal research interests of the Nathans lab center on two areas: the structure and function of the vertebrate visual system; and the origins of pattern formation in development.

Nathans Lab

Jeremy Nathans shares the 2008 Champalimaude Vision Award with King-Wai Yau

Christopher J. Potter

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
855 North Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: 434 Rangos Building

Phone:  (office) 443-287-4151 (lab) 443-287-4152
Fax: 443-287-7672


Research summary

Dr. Potter and his lab are interested in understanding how the sense of smell is received, interpreted and encoded by neurons in the brain. The lab develops sophisticated genetic techniques in Drosophila to alter the activity of defined neuronal subsets, and then monitors how those alterations affect olfactory behaviors. From such experiments, they aim to understand how different neural circuits give rise to discrete olfactory perceptions like attraction and repulsion. The lab is also interested in understanding systems of olfactory communication, whereby animals use odorants (e.g. pheromones) to relay information about changing conditions in the external environment, and how such olfactory information is further processed by central brain neurons.

Potter Lab

Bradley J. Undem

Brad UndemProfessor of Medicine (Division of Clinical Immunology)

Johns Hopkins University Asthma and Allergy Center (3A44)
5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle
Baltimore, MD 21224

Telephone: (410-550-2160
Email: bundem@jhmi.edu

Research Summary

The Undem laboratory investigates how visceral tissues communicate with the central nervous system via the sensory nervous system, and how this process becomes corrupted in inflammatory visceral diseases (focusing mainly on asthma, chronic cough, COPD, and esophagitis). Using electrophysiological and genetic approaches we are investigating the mechanisms by which the activity and phenotype of sensory nerves are modulated in the face of inflammation. One present topic is involves the question of how respiratory virus infection and allergic inflammation alters the nervous system in a manner that leads to coughing and exacerbation of asthma. Another more basic area of interest is in the unraveling of how sensory stimuli (mechanical, inflammatory mediators) lead to membrane depolarization in vagal sensory pain type nerve terminals and the nature of the voltage gated sodium channels that support action potential initiation and conduction in these nerves.

undem cough recept undem intrapulmonary

King-Wai Yau

Professor of Neuroscience

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
725 North Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205

Room: 905A PreClinical Teaching Building

Telephone: (410) 955-1260
Fax: (410) 955-1948


Research summary

Dr. Yau and his laboratory study visual and olfactory sensory transduction, which have interesting similarities but also striking differences. Visual transduction in retinal photoreceptors (the rods and cones) is known to involve a cGMP signaling pathway. Recording from single, dissociated photoreceptors isolated from genetically modified mice and frogs is one assay they use to address specific questions about the details of phototransduction. Unlike vision, which involves only a few visual pigments in rods and cones, olfaction apparently involves of the order of a thousand distinct odorant receptor proteins. A key, still largely unknown question about olfactory transduction is how a given odorant receptor protein recognizes a specific set of chemicals (odorants). They are addressing this question by stimulating cloned odorant receptor proteins various odorants, using calcium imaging as an assay.


Yau shares the 2008 Champalimaude Vision Award with Jeremy Nathans

Haiqing Zhao

Zhao photo Haiqing Zhao, PhD
Department of Biology

226 Mudd Hall
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore MD 21218

Office: 410-516-7391
Lab 410-516-7641
Email: hzhao@jhu.edu

Research Summary

The Zhao laboratory is interested in the first step of olfaction—olfactory signal transduction, the process by which olfactory sensory neurons transform information of odorous chemicals into membrane potential changes. In vertebrates, olfactory signal transduction takes place in olfactory cilia, which extend from the tip of the olfactory sensory neuron dendrite into the mucus that covers the nasal epithelium. In most olfactory sensory neurons, transduction is achieved through a G protein-coupled, cyclic AMP-mediated signaling pathway, starting with the binding of an odorous chemical to its receptor protein. Ca2+ plays a key role in mediating and regulating olfactory transduction. On the one hand, Ca2+ amplifies OSN depolarization by activating the Cl- channel ANO2; on the other hand, it negatively regulates the transduction pathway to cause adaptation—a phenomenon manifested as a reduced sensitivity upon sustained or repeated odor exposure. Our current research focuses on identifying proteins that partake in or regulate the transduction process and on understanding how calcium-dependent regulatory events influence the sensitivity and response kinetics of olfactory sensory neurons.