I am interested in molecular determinants regulating responsiveness of neurons to synaptic and sensory stimuli. For such studies my lab utilizes the experimentally tractable model organism, the nematode C. elegans. This model enables concurrent analysis of multiple levels of activity, starting at the molecular level, through the cellular and network levels, and ending with the behavioral level. Specifically, my lab focuses on two research questions: 1) what are the mechanisms regulating the number and properties of neurotransmitter gated ion channels? These studies focus on RIC-3, an evolutionarily conserved chaperone of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors that strongly affects quantity and quality of membrane expressed receptors. 2) What are the signals and signaling pathways regulating responsiveness to noxious stimuli? These studies focus on a pair of C. elegans polymodal sensory neurons, shown to be a well conserved model for polymodal nociceptors.