We are delighted to welcome Dr. Gregory Scherrer from Stanford University and Dr. Adam Hantman from HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus to the UNC Neuroscience Center and the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology.

Dr. Scherrer’s lab investigates the neurobiology of pain perception and the mechanisms of action of opioids, and will begin September 1, 2019. We encourage incoming graduate students to contact him, he will be accepting students for fall rotations! Additional details about Scherrer’s lab:

Pain is a complex and multidimensional experience with sensory and emotional components. The members of the Scherrer Lab aim to elucidate the mechanisms by which our nervous system generates the different dimensions of pain experience, at the genetic, molecular, cellular, neural circuit, and behavioral levels, using the mouse as a model system. We also seek to resolve the mechanisms of action of opioids and understand how these drugs alter activity in neural circuits to produce analgesia, but also deleterious side effects such as tolerance, addiction and respiratory depression. To this aim, we investigate the functional organization of our endogenous opioid system and the localization, trafficking and signaling properties of opioid receptors in neurons in vivo. Collectively, these studies expand our understanding of pain neurobiology and the mechanisms of action of opioids to develop solutions against chronic pain and the opioid epidemic, by identifying novel non-addictive drug targets to treat pain and strategies to disassociate opioid analgesia from side effects.

Dr. Hantman’s lab studies how the nervous system controls voluntary movements and will begin in the late summer of 2020.  Dr. Hantman is a Carolina alumni who completed his graduate research in 2004 with the late Dr. Edward Perl Additional details about Hantman’s lab:

Dexterous movements serve the major functions of the brain, perception and manipulation of the world. Considering the range of possible actions and the complexity of musculoskeletal arrangements, control of the hand is an amazing achievement of the nervous system. Dexterous behavior involves understanding objects in the world, developing appropriate plans, converting those plans into appropriate motor commands, and adaptively reacting to feedback. The myriad of these underlying operations is likely performed by a diverse set of neural circuits. By combining anatomy, physiology, and specific (genetic and temporal) manipulations, my lab hopes to identify and understand the neural elements responsible for dexterous motor control. Currently, we focus on a skilled reach-grab-eat task in the rodent.