SICB Annual Meeting 2018
January 3-7, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Integrative Biology of Sensory Hair Cells

Sensory hair cells are used to sense vibration and water movement through the lateral line system, posture and acceleration through the inner ear labyrinth system, and auditory stimuli through combinations of the labyrinthine sensory epithelia and specialized auditory epithelia such as the mammalian cochlea. In addition, the ampullary electroreceptor cells of primitive fish are derived from the same sensory placodes that give rise to the lateral line system, providing a significant developmental link (and likely an evolutionary link) between those systems. Sensory hair cells are in many ways a defining characteristic of vertebrates, and more recently they have also been identified in tunicates, a sister group to vertebrates within Chordata.

Sensory hair cells therefore comprise a group of sensory cells having unusual diversity of function while sharing some ancient, common developmental pathways. Many questions remain to be explored with regard to the physiological mechanisms of hair cell function and the developmental processes that give rise to hair cells, and the purpose of our symposium is to bring together a group of outstanding biologists who are working at the frontier of research on the physiology and the evolutionary-developmental biology of hair cells.

Our symposium takes an integrative approach by combining physiology and evolutionary-developmental biology approaches. It also takes a comparative approach by bringing together biologists who work on hair cells in different sensory systems (auditory, vestibular, electrosensory) and in different phyletic groups (tunicates, fish, mammals). We are excited about our symposium and invite you all to attend and have your own hair cells stimulated by our outstanding speakers!

Sponsors: DEDB, DNNSB & AMS


  • Duane McPherson
  • Billie Swalla


S8-1 Saturday, Jan. 6, 07:50 MCPHERSON, DR: Introduction to the Symposium

S8-2 Saturday, Jan. 6, 08:00 MCPHERSON, DR: Sensory Hair Cells: an Overview

S8-3 Saturday, Jan. 6, 08:30 SCHLOSSER, Gerhard: Sensational innovations - The evolution of cranial sense organs in vertebrates

S8-4 Saturday, Jan. 6, 09:00 MANNI, L*; ANSELMI, C; PENNATI, R; MERCURIO, S; GASPARINI, F: Development and Function of Secondary Mechanoreceptor Cells in Tunicates

S8-5 Saturday, Jan. 6, 09:30 BAKER, Clare/VH: The development and evolution of vertebrate lateral line electroreceptors

S8-6 Saturday, Jan. 6, 10:30 STOLFI, Alberto: Specification of sensory neurons in the tunicate larva

S8-7 Saturday, Jan. 6, 11:00 JAHAN, Israt; FRITZSCH, Bernd*: Evolving neurosensory cells into the orderly arrangement of the organ of Corti: resolving developmental reorganization of gene expression to guide regeneration.

S8-8 Saturday, Jan. 6, 11:30 BERMINGAHM-MCDONOGH, Olivia: Development and Regeneration in the Mammalian Inner Ear

S8-9 Saturday, Jan. 6, 13:30 EATOCK, Ruth Anne: Ion channels in vestibular hair cells and afferents shape the receptor potential, synaptic transmission and spike patterning

S8-10 Saturday, Jan. 6, 14:00 PAN, B*; HOLT, JR: TMC1 Function in Hair Cell Mechanotransduction

S8-11 Saturday, Jan. 6, 14:30 LI, Yi; TAN, Xiaodong; TANG, Jie; BEISEL, Kirk W.; LOVAS, Sandor; HE, David Z*: Evolutionary Insight Into Functional and Structural Changes of Prestin, the Motor Protein of Cochlear Outer Hair Cells

S8-12 Saturday, Jan. 6, 15:00 GLOWATZKI, E: A comparison of differently specialized hair cell afferent synapses