Transcriptional profiling of sensory neurons

Project Details

In the respiratory system, sensory neurons are critical for the ongoing physiological control of breathing as well as protecting against potentially damaging stimuli that could adversely affect ventilation. Their disordered activity contributes the coughing, dyspnoea and hyperreactivity characteristic of many lung diseases. Although respiratory sensory neurons are known to be functionally heterogeneous, very little is known about the molecular characteristics that define distinct populations.

In this project we are assessing the transcriptional profile of individual sensory neurons using RNA sequencing to better define cellular heterogeneity and to identify novel regulators of sensory neuron function. The project further aims to define changes in sensory neuron transcriptomes associated with viral pulmonary disease.


Dr Alice McGovern, NHMRC Research Fellow

Nicole Kerr, Laboratory Manager

Jennifer Keller, PhD student

Alexandria Driessen, PhD student


Professor Christine Wells

Professor Janet Keast

Dr Jason Ivanusic

Professor Bradley Undem, Johns Hopkins University


NHMRC (2015-18): Dissecting the central organisation of cough neural networks.

Research Publications

  • Mazzone SB, Undem BJ. Vagal Afferent Innervation of the Airways in Health and Disease. Physiol Rev 2016 Jul; 96(3): 975 1024.
  • Ando A, Smallwood D, McMahon M, Irving L, Mazzone SB, Farrell MJ. Neural correlates of cough hypersensitivity in humans: evidence for central sensitisation and dysfunctional inhibitory control. Thorax 2016 Apr; 71(4): 323-9.
  • McGovern AE, Driessen AK, Simmons DG, Powell J, Davis-Poynter N, Farrell MJ, Mazzone SB. Distinct brainstem and forebrain circuits receiving tracheal sensory neuron inputs revealed using a novel conditional anterograde transsynaptic viral tracing system. J Neurosci 2015 May 6; 35(18): 7041-55.

See ORCiD for a listing of Stuart's publications.

Research Group

Mazzone laboratory: Respiratory Sensory Neuroscience

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cardio-Respiratory, Biomedical Neuroscience, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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