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Liu (Yin) Lab

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Research Overview
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As we vividly perceive the external world through the canonical five senses, our nervous system also continuously monitors our internal states. This internal monitoring is in part carried out by peripheral sensory neurons that innervate the internal organs. Sensory information transmitted by these neurons is essential for regulating physiological homeostasis and generating the perception of internal states (interoception).

The lungs, as the vital organ for gas exchange, receive extensive innervation from peripheral sensory neurons. These neurons are highly diverse in their molecular identities, terminal morphologies, sensory and signal repertoires, and physiological functions. In the Liu lab, we seek to understand a) How do pulmonary sensory neurons detect and encode signals present in the organ, both exogenous from the inhaled air and endogenous from lung cells and circulation? b) How is information conveyed by these neurons integrated and processed in the central nervous system? c) How do the neural circuits mediating lung-brain interaction remodel under pulmonary diseases and regulate disease pathophysiology. To address these questions, we use a variety of experimental approaches, including single-cell sequencing, neuronal activity recording and imaging, opto/chemogenetics, and whole animal physiology.

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