Dr. Larson’s research is split between two main areas. In one project, he is investigating how taste receptor cells of taste buds communicate with afferent nerve fibers. Primarily, he is interested in the role of serotonin and ATP as neurotransmitters. Using a mouse model with single cell physiology and advanced light microscopy techniques he can examine how peripheral nerve fibers receive taste quality information.
Dr. Larson’s other project investigates the role of a specialized cell type (solitary chemosensory cells) in the nasal respiratory epithelium in immune and inflammatory responses to inhaled toxins and irritants (e.g. cigarette smoke, pollution, pollens, etc). Dr. Larson employs advanced single cell molecular biology, single cell physiology, and advanced light microscopy techniques to examine how these chemosensory cells are able to detect a wide array of molecules to trigger a protective immune response in the nasal epithelium.
Lastly, Dr. Larson has begun collaborations with labs throughout the University of Colorado to assist with bioinformatics needs such as RNA-sequencing and microarray analysis.
Double-label confocal images of GFP and Car4 (A-C) or 5-HT (D) in 5-HT3A-GFP mouse circumvallate papillae (A), foliate papillae (B), fungiform papillae (C), and soft palate (D). GFP+ nerve fibers were present in all taste fields. GFP+ nerve fibers run alongside of Type III taste receptor cells labeled by Car4 or serotonin. Scale bars = 25 µm.
Dorsal view of a deboned TRPM5-GFP nose after passive CLARITY. Red box indicates general area from which confocal image was acquired. (right) 3D volume view of DAPI, TRPM5GFP, and gustducin staining in the posterior respiratory epithelium. Volume view is 200 µm in the axial plan. Fluorescence is largely undiminished as the optical plan progresses in to the tissue. Image created with Volume View plugin for Image J.