Silver Lab, Fall 2015
                                                                Wayne Silver Ph.D.
                                                                                Albert Kim
                                                                             Graduate Student

Our research interest is in the chemical senses taste, smell, and chemesthesis. My current focus is on the receptors responsible for the detection of chemesthetic stimuli. Chemesthesis is the sense of irritation caused by chemicals and mediated by the somatosensory system. In vertebrates, chemesthesis is linked to the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the eye, nose, and mouth. Examples of chemesthesis include the stinging of ammonia and the burning of horseradish and chili peppers. Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels have been shown to detect irritants and contribute to chemesthesis. For example, TRPV1 is activated by capsaicin (found in chili peppers) and TRPA1 is activated by allyl isothiocyanate (found in wasabi). We have recently begun using two invertebrate models to study chemesthesis. We use behavioral, physiological and genetic techniques to study how fruit flies and earthworms respond to irritant chemicals.

Wayne L. Silver, Professor
Department of Biology
1834 Wake Forest Road
Wake Forest University 
Winston-Salem, NC 27109

Phone: 336-758-5920
Fax: 336-758-6008