Meet Our Team

Alakananda Das, Ph.D.

Ph.D.: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Year started in lab: 2016

Project Title:  Studying the relationship between integrins, ion channels and extracellular matrix in C. elegans touch sensation.

Expertise: Worm genome editing, protein structure and function.

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I am interested in studying the molecular basis of how cells sense and interact with their environment. In particular I am studying the process of mechanosensation in worms. I want to work out the molecular details of whether there is a cross-talk between different kinds of cellular mechanoreceptors and the degree of their interdependence.

Sylvia Fechner, Ph.D.

Ph.D.: Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University

Year started in lab: 2014

Project Title: Investigating the stoichiometry of the ion channel pore units underlying touch sensation with structural-functional studies

Expertise: Patch-Clamp experiments with tiny cells from sperm to neurons

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As I became really fond of ion channels, I decided to do my PostDoc in the lab of Dr. Miriam Goodman at Stanford. Here, I study the role of ion channels and their stoichiometry in touch receptor neurons of the nematode C. elegans. I use piezoresistive cantilevers to apply controlled mechanical loads combined with the patch-clamp technique to record the neurons’ response (setup name: FALCON). From whole brain recordings, via patch-clamping zebrafish sperm to mechanosensitive neurons in C. elegans, I am curious what the future targets will be. 

Holger Fehlauer, Ph.D.

Ph.D.: Leibniz University of Hannover

Year started in lab: 2015

Project Title: Investigation of neuronal activity in complex systems

Expertise: Fluorescence (single-molecule) microscopy, Microfluidics, Calcium imaging, Image and data analysis with ImageJ and Python

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For my Postdoc I joined Dr. Goodman’s lab at Stanford University. Here I investigate the neuronal activity of two sets of neurons in C. elegans: the response of touch receptor neurons to different touch stimuli, and of neurons involved in food - salt associative learning to salt. I am fascinated how elegant the nervous system of a “simple” organism is able to distinguish between small differences in stimuli, habituate and learn.