Qiufu Ma, Ph.D.

 

Professor of Neurobiology

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Smith Building, Room 1022
450 Brookline Street
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-632-4594
Email: qiufu_ma@dfci.harvard.edu






We are interested in studying the neural circuits involved with the senses of pain, itch, touch, and temperatures. According to population coding hypothesis, each of these somatic sensory modalities is processed along a specific neural circuit or a labeled line, but the emergency of a specific sensation in response to a particular sensory stimulus is often involved with a cross talk among these labeled lines. For example, both pain-related and itch-related sensory neurons respond to capsaicin, the pungent ingredient in "hot" chili peppers, but capsaicin injection in humans evokes only pain, due to a dominant suppression of itch by pain. Our research focuses on two related areas. One is to understand the genetic programs that control the assembly of specific sensory-labeled lines. The other is to characterize the neural circuits underlying cross interaction between distinct sensory-labeled lines by developing new genetic tools to mark and ablate specific neuronal populations in the dorsal spinal cord.


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Last Update: 11/7/2013