National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Molecular and Cellular Section

Alexander Chesler, Ph.D.

Tenure-Track Investigator

Alexander Chesler

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.

Research Interests

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.

Selected Publications