Welcome to the website for collaborative projects between the Slav Bagriantsev and Elena Gracheva laboratories at Yale University. Our laboratories have joined forces to start a multidisciplinary research program aimed at deep understanding of the molecular basis of sensory physiology and thermoregulation.

We want to know how different stimuli, such as temperature and mechanical force, are sensed and translated into adaptive biological processes in normal and extreme environmental conditions. We employ a wide array of methods and techniques, including deep sequencing, differential transcriptomics, electrophysiology, biophysics and biochemistry to clone and characterize novel membrane receptors that perceive enviromental inputs and convert them into electrical signals in the somatosensory neurons.

A key element of our approach is the use non-standard animal models, which allow us to understand the molecular basis of sensory physiology from perspectives unachievable using the standard laboratory rodents.

Squirrel logoWe have established a colony of hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels. These animals lower their body temperature to 4oC without exhibiting distress or discomfort. Upon arousal, they come back to normal, showing a unique adaptability of their somatosensory and thermoregulatory systems. These animals hold answers to the molecular basis of temperature sensitivity, thermoregulation and hibernation.

Duck LogoAnother unique model system we’ve developed is tactile foraging ducks. Ducks have taken the sense of touch in their bill to the extreme. We use ducks to understand the molecular basis of light touch perception in the glabrous skin of vertebrates.

We are in search for talented postdocs and graduate students who want to join our groups to do cutting-edge science in the superb academic environment of Yale University.