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


Clare Baker
Olivia Bermingham-McDonogh
Ruth Anne Eatock
David Z. Z. He
Bernd Fritzsch
Elizabeth Glowatzki
Lucia Manni
Duane McPherson
Bifeng Pan
Gerhard Schlosser
Alberto Stolfi