My lab studies the molecular sensors that allow cells to detect and respond to physical cues in their environment, including electrical and mechanical stimuli. Cells use these sensors to adapt to and modify their microenvironment, and to communicate with each other. In the nervous system, we are particularly interested in how resident immune cells communicate with neurons and glia. We focus on ion channels that are activated by changes in membrane potential and are permeable to protons or potassium, and on channels that are activated by increases in membrane tension and are permeable to calcium. We utilize a variety of techniques, comprising electrophysiology, imaging, biochemistry and molecular biology methods, kinetic modeling, and molecular dynamics simulations, to study: 1) how these channel proteins work and are modulated by intra- and extracellular signals, and by pharmacological treatments, and 2) how their activity affects cellular physiology and pathophysiology. Some of the functions of the sensors we study are known. For example, the Hv1 channel regulates the production of reactive oxygen species in microglial cells and has proinflammatory activity in the context of ischemic stroke, whereas the Piezo1 channel helps neural stem progenitor cells make fate choices. Other functions, on the other and hand, are completely unknown and await enthusiastic and ambitious graduate students to be discovered.