Congratulations to Diana Bautista on her promotion to MCB Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology!

Bautista’s research group works on the molecular mechanisms underlying touch, itch, and pain. These sensations are essential for a broad range of critical behaviors, such as enabling fine-scale tactile skills and guarding against potential tissue damage and disease infection. 

Despite their essential protective functions, itch and pain can outlast their usefulness and become chronic. In mammals, these sensations are mediated by specialized subsets of somatosensory neurons that innervate the skin and viscera. Non-excitable cells, such as keratinocytes and immune cells, also work in conjunction with somatosensory neurons to promote acute and chronic inflammatory pain and itch.

By using a combination of cellular physiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, and behavioral studies, her lab aims to identify the mechanisms by which neurons, immune cells, and epithelial cells detect itch, pain, and tactile stimuli under normal and pathophysiological conditions. 

To learn more visit Professor Bautista's website here.