Ann Arbor, MI — May 16, 2014 — Dr. James Corson, a postdoctoral research associate in Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, recently received the Polak Young Investigator Award from the Association for Chemoreception Sciences. Presented during the organization’s recent annual meeting in Florida, the award recognizes the innovative research of young investigators.
Corson’s research focuses on the nucleus of the solitary tract, a major sensory nucleus in the brainstem, that receives sensory information from taste buds in the mouth and conveys this information to the rest of the brain. Since little is known about how neurons register and transmit this sensory information, Corson has been mapping neuron wiring in the nucleus of the solitary tract. Working in the Taste Systems Laboratory of Dr. Robert Bradley, professor of dentistry in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, Corson is working to identify differences in the neural circuits that process information about taste and control different taste-evoked behaviors.
Since taste affects behaviors ranging from saliva secretion to food ingestion, taste has a significant influence on a person’s nutrition, oral health and general health, including hypertension and obesity. Corson said understanding how the body's neural circuitry operates could lead to developing better oral care protocols that improve oral health as well as possibility mitigate adverse effects on individuals.