CIMED Research Day/Koster Lecture: Ardem Patapoutian (Scripps Research) – “How do you feel? The molecules that sense touch”

September 26, 2022
2:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Medical Campus

“How do you feel? The molecules that sense touch”


The Center for Investigation of Membrane Excitability Diseases (CIMED) Research Day invites you to attend the annual Koster Memorial Lecture and reception on the afternoon of Monday, September 26, 2022.

The poster session, with refreshments is scheduled from 2:00-4:00 pm. Posters are welcomed from any interested members of the WU community, including students, staff and faculty.  Prizes of $100 will be presented to the best poster in each of the following three categories.  In each category the first author should be the presenter. The prize categories will be as follows:

  • Pre-Doctoral – includes graduate, undergraduate, technicians.
  • Post-Doctoral – includes post-Doctoral trainees and post-Doc staff members, up to and including Instructor position.
  • Translational – includes either of the above categories and will be judged with additional criteria of translational relevance.

Senior center members will be invited to judge of the posters and the prizes will be awarded at the end of the Koster lecture.

The introductory comments for the Memorial Lecture will begin at 4:00 pm and the Koster Memorial reception will follow immediately after the lecture at ~5:30 pm.

Talk Summary: We often say that seeing is believing. But touching is also believing. Our sense of touch holds the capacity to connect us with the world and warn us of harm and hurt. But how exactly do you sense a gentle breeze or a cactus pricking your finger? How do you feel the embrace of a loved one? These senses depend on mechanotransduction, the conversion of pressure into chemical signals, which is perhaps the last sensory modality not understood at the molecular level. Dr. Patapoutian will discuss work from his laboratory that identified and characterized PIEZO1 and PIEZO2, pressure-activated cation channels. Genetic studies established that PIEZO2 is the principal mechanical transducer for touch, proprioception, baroreception and bladder and lung stretch, and that PIEZO1 mediates many mechanosensory roles throughout the body. Clinical investigations have confirmed the importance of these channels in human physiology.

These and any further details will be posted on the CIMED website.   

Email to paula@wustl.edu to register for the event and to submit a poster abstract.