Nicolson Lab

Professor, Oregon Hearing Research Center:
Teresa Nicolson

Live image of zebrafish inner ear hair cells expressing YFP-tubulin and actin-RFP. (Max projection, 60x water lens, Zeiss LSM700 confocal.)We are interested in the molecular basis of mechanotransduction and synaptic transmission in auditory/vestibular hair cells. To identify key players in these processes, we are studying zebrafish mutants with hearing and balance defects. The aim of our research is to determine gene function by examining the mutants at multiple levels, including the behavioral, cellular, and physiological levels. Another major goal is to provide animal models of human deafness.

Recently, we have concentrated our efforts on developing innovative ways of characterizing our mutants. These new techniques include quantitation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex, measuring post-synaptic responses to mechanical stimulation of hair cells, and calcium imaging of hair-cell transients using localized genetic indicators. With these tools in hand, we are able to gain a better understanding of gene function and apply our findings to understanding the pathology of congenital deafness in humans.


Current Lab Members

Teresa Nicolson
Primary Investigator

Tim Erickson
Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniel Gibson
Lab Technician

Lisa Hayashi
Fish Facility Staff

Reo Maeda
Postdoctoral Fellow

Itallia Pacentine
Graduate Student