Molecular and Cellular Section
Alexander Chesler, Ph.D.
Dr. Chesler received his degrees from Bard College (B.A., 1995) and Columbia University (Ph.D., 2005). His graduate study, in the laboratory of Dr. Stuart Firestein, was focused on the function and development of olfactory sensory neurons. He did his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. David Julius at the University of California, San Francisco, where he combined physiological, anatomical, and behavioral approaches to study the pharmacology of somatosensory neurons. He joined the NIH intramural pain program (NCCAM) in 2013, where his laboratory now employs multidisciplinary approaches to study how sensory stimuli (such temperature, touch, and environmental irritants) are detected and encoded by the somatosensory system.
The lab is interested in the neurons and circuits of the somatosensory system and the changes that they undergo during injury and inflammation. Currently, research in the lab is focused on discovering new molecules involved in the transduction of somatosensory stimuli and studying the regions of the brain that encode innocuous versus painful stimuli. Our work centers on a class of sensory neurons (called C fibers) that encode thermal, noxious, and mechanical stimuli. To investigate these questions, we are using a variety of methods in the lab to study transgenic mice that include physiology, two-photon imaging, optogenetics, and behavior.
- Le Pichon CE, Chesler AT. The functional and anatomical dissection of somatosensory subpopulations using mouse genetics. Front Neuroanat. 2014 Apr 22;8:21. eCollection 2014. Review.
- Bohlen CJ, Chesler AT, Sharif-Naeini R, Medzihradszky KF, Zhou S, King D, Sánchez EE, Burlingame AL, Basbaum AI, Julius D. A heteromeric Texas coral snake toxin targets acid-sensing ion channels to produce pain. Nature. 2011 Nov 16;479(7373):410–4. doi: 10.1038/nature10607.
- Cavanaugh DJ, Chesler AT, Bráz JM, Shah NM, Julius D, Basbaum AI. Restriction of transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 to the peptidergic subset of primary afferent neurons follows its developmental downregulation in nonpeptidergic neurons. J Neurosci. 2011 Jul 13;31(28):10119–27. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1299–11.2011.
- Cavanaugh DJ, Chesler AT, Jackson AC, Sigal YM, Yamanaka H, Grant R, O'Donnell D, Nicoll RA, Shah NM, Julius D, Basbaum AI. Trpv1 reporter mice reveal highly restricted brain distribution and functional expression in arteriolar smooth muscle cells. J Neurosci. 2011 Mar 30;31(13):5067–77. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6451–10.2011.
- Gracheva EO, Ingolia NT, Kelly YM, Cordero-Morales JF, Hollopeter G, Chesler AT, Sánchez EE, Perez JC, Weissman JS, Julius D. Molecular basis of infrared detection by snakes. Nature. 2010 Apr 15;464(7291):1006–11. doi: 10.1038/nature08943. Epub 2010 Mar 14.
- Zou DJ, Chesler A, Firestein S. How the olfactory bulb got its glomeruli: a just so story? Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 Aug;10(8):611–8. doi: 10.1038/nrn2666. Epub 2009 Jul 8. Review.
- Le Pichon CE, Valley MT, Polymenidou M, Chesler AT, Sagdullaev BT, Aguzzi A, Firestein S. Olfactory behavior and physiology are disrupted in prion protein knockout mice. Nat Neurosci. 2009 Jan;12(1):60–9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2238. Epub 2008 Dec 21.
- Chesler A, Firestein S. Neuroscience: current views on odour receptors. Nature. 2008 Apr 24;452(7190):944. doi: 10.1038/452944a. No abstract available.
- Chesler AT, Le Pichon CE, Brann JH, Araneda RC, Zou DJ, Firestein S. Selective gene expression by postnatal electroporation during olfactory interneuron neurogenesis. PLoS One. 2008 Jan 30;3(1):e1517. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001517.
- Zou DJ, Chesler AT, Le Pichon CE, Kuznetsov A, Pei X, Hwang EL, Firestein S. Absence of adenylyl cyclase 3 perturbs peripheral olfactory projections in mice. J Neurosci. 2007 Jun 20;27(25):6675–83.
- Peterlin Z, Chesler A, Firestein S. A painful trp can be a bonding experience. Neuron. 2007 Mar 1;53(5):635–8. Review.
- Chesler AT, Zou DJ, Le Pichon CE, Peterlin ZA, Matthews GA, Pei X, Miller MC, Firestein S. A G protein/cAMP signal cascade is required for axonal convergence into olfactory glomeruli. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jan 16;104(3):1039–44. Epub 2007 Jan 10.