I am fascinated by how cells process genetic information to develop specialized machinery for their function. For my thesis work, I am studying how spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) acquire and maintain specific properties to accurately convey complex auditory information from the cochlea to the brain. As a population, SGNs develop into four physiologically, molecularly and synaptically heterogenous subtypes. This heterogeneity allows SGNs to process rich information about frequency, sound intensity and timing of the sounds we hear with high accuracy and speed. Previous data show that mice mutant for the transcription factors cMaf or Mafb exhibit hearing deficits as well as shifts in SGN synaptic development and molecular heterogeneity. I aim to understand how cMaf and Mafb are acting individually and in unison to instruct features of SGN subtype identity such as synaptic heterogeneity and expression of the subtype-specific calcium binding proteins.
Which historical figure would you like to have dinner with, and what would you ask?
I would organize a luncheon with Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earheart. I'd ask them, "How was it? The fear? The adventure?"
What fictional universe do you wish you could visit?
Rivendell, 25th century of the Third Age