New York

Sense to Synpase: Biophysical Mechanisms of Perception

Davis Auditorium (Schapiro CESPR Building)
Columbia University
New York City, New York
April 19, 2012

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Overview: The purpose of this one-day event is to bring together researchers in the greater NYC area to learn about and discuss recent advances in biophysics underlying sensory transduction. Several plenary talks will be presented by leading scientists studying the five classical senses: smell, touch, hearing, taste, and vision. This forum will also provide graduate students and postdocs with a unique opportunity to give an oral presentation on their research to a general scientific audience.


Stuart Firestein, Columbia University
A. James Hudspeth, Rockefeller University
Ellen Lumpkin, Columbia University
Elizabeth Olson, Columbia University
M. Hakan Ozdener, Monell Center
Eero Simoncelli, New York University
Additional speakers will be chosen from abstracts submitted.


Christopher Bergevin, Columbia University
Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery
Fowler Memorial Lab
Dáibhid Ó Maoiléidigh, Rockefeller University
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Postdoctoral Associate
The Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience


9:00 AM Welcome (Davis Auditorium, Schapiro CEPSR)
9:05 AM   Introduction
Elizabeth Olson
Department of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia University
9:15 AM Olfaction Keynote
Making Sense of Scents: Mammalian Olfaction
Stuart Firestein
Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University
10:00 AM     A Physical Model and Bayesian Inference Guides the Design and Analysis of  Chemosensory Arrays
Julia Tsitron
Department of Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics / BioMaPS
Institute for Quantitative Biology, Rutgers University
10:10 AM            Response Dynamics of C. Elegans Chemosensory Neurons
Saul Kato
Center For Theoretical Neuroscience, Columbia University
10:20 AM Coffee Break (Schapiro CEPSR)
10:45 AM Vision Keynote
Eero Simoncelli
Center for Neural Science/Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences/Department of Psychology,
New York University
11:30 AM SynCAM 1 Contributes to Synapse Organization and Function in the Retina
Adema Ribic
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
11:40 AM A Function for Whirlin in Proprioceptor Mechanotransduction
Joriene de Nooij
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University
11:50 AM Lunch (Schapiro CEPSR)
12:50 PM Taste Keynote
Human Taste Cell Culture: To Study Taste
M. Hakan Ozdener
Monell Center / Temple University
1:35 PM The Molecular Basis of Acid Insensitivity in the African Naked Mole-Rat
Ewan St. John Smith
NYU Langone Medical Center, New York University
1:45 PM Expression Cloning of a High-Affinity TRPA1 Antagonist using a Recombinant Membrane-tethered Spider Toxin Library
Michael Nitabach
Yale School of Medicine, Yale University
1:55 PM  Coffee Break (Schapiro CEPSR)
2:20 PM Hearing Keynote
Making an Effort to Listen: Mechanical Amplification by Myosin Molecules and Ion Channels in Hair Cells of the Inner Ear
Jim Hudspeth
Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University
3:05 PM Phantom Tones and Suppressive Masking by Active Nonlinear Oscillation of the Hair-Cell Bundle
Jérémie Barral
Center for Neural Science, New York University
3:15 PM Touch Keynote
Mechanosensory Mechanisms in a Mammalian Touch Receptor
Ellen Lumpkin
Department of Dermatology / Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University
4:00 PM End

Download the program as a PDF

Abstract Submission and Registration

For information about the program, registration, and abstract submission, visit the Sense to Synpase: Biophysical Mechanisms of Perception website. Additional speakers will be chosen from abstracts submitted, and will be notified of abstract acceptance by April 6. Abstract submission and registration are closed.

Download the Sense to Synpase: Biophysical Mechanisms of Perception flyer


Contact the organizers at


The Biophysical Society, Christopher Bergevin, and Dáibhid Ó Maoiléidigh would like to thank the following company for its generous support of Sense to Synpase: Biophysical Mechanisms of Perception:

F.M. Kirby Center for Sensory Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University