Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Yunxiao Zhang, PhD

Dr. Zhang [Merck Fellow] aims to address what information is sensed and relayed by sensory nerve fibers within the pancreas. Internal organs receive sensory nerve fibers that constantly monitor their conditions but the exact mechanism for this type of sensation is understudied. As an organ that is instrumental to blood glucose regulation and food digestion, the pancreas receives a host of different sensory nerve fibers, but the information conveyed by these fibers and their function are still yet to be precisely defined. Interaction between sensory nerve fibers and the pancreas enables rapid detection of changes in metabolic states and may constitute an important feedback mechanism complementary to the well-defined humoral regulation. Local sensory fibers are also involved in cancer progression and decoding of the sensory information would facilitate early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Project title: "Sensory innervation of the pancreas"
Institution: The Scripps Research Institute
Named Award: Merck Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Ardem Patapoutian, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Animal Models/Mouse Models