The nervous system is exquisitely tuned to mount the appropriate behavioral response to sensory stimuli ranging from a gentle caress to a harsh mechanical insult. How our nervous systems encode this information, from the level of sensory neuron activation in peripheral tissues up towards the central nervous system, in both normal and diseased states, remains enigmatic. Taking advantage of mouse molecular and genetic tools, the Abdus-Saboor lab is addressing important questions about sensory system perception – from the level of the gene to the level of organismal behavior. Using an integrative approach spanning optogenetics and chemogenetics, automated tracking/scoring of behavior at millisecond timescales, calcium imaging and patch clamp physiology in dissociated neurons, our overall goal is to increase our basic understanding of the mechanisms governing encoding of somatosensory stimuli, with a particular focus on pain.