Post-Grant Reports


Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant Report

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Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Sense Organs


The presence of the neurotransmitter GABA in the mammalian inner ear is well established, yet its role in regulating inner ear cell function is less clear. My lab seeks to understand the role of GABA in the inner ear by using the model organism zebrafish. Zebrafish possess a sense that humans do not: they can detect water movement with their lateral line system. Zebrafish sense water movement with cells that project out from the body of the fish into the environment. These so-called hair cells are remarkably similar to the sensory cells of the inner ear. Because they are on the outside of zebrafish, and not behind a bony skull, lateral line hair-cells are easily accessible for study. We are determining the zebrafish lateral line system is an appropriate tissue with which to model GABA signaling in the inner ear. Our research has led to insights into the expression patterns of genes and proteins relevant to GABA signaling in the lateral line. Our results suggest that the genes expressed in the lateral line are orthologs of genes expressed in the mammalian inner ear, and thus zebrafish appear to be an appropriate model organism with which to further study GABA function in the inner ear.


This research was conducted as part of a Linfield College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant in 2016, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Student collaborators were Megan Schwehr, Connell Crabtree, and Tenzin Yangchen.

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