Yijen Anthony Huang
Physiology & Biophysics, Miller School of Medicine
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, USA
Dr. Yijen Anthony Huang received a complete anatomical training in Taiwan. As an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at Kaohsiung Medical University, he carried out morphological studies on taste neurotransmitters using histochemistry and immuno-electron microscopy. He realized he needed advanced training in cellular physiology if he wanted to pursue his ideas in chemosensory research. He came to the USA to work in Prof. Roper’s laboratory on sabbatical leave. Because his training was so successful and he was making such rapid progress, especially with the new approach of biosensor technology, the University of Miami awarded him the position of Assistant Professor of Physiology & Biophysics, Research Track in recognition of his accomplishments and his growing independence. As mentioned in his research interests, he has gathered critical data with the biosensor cells indicating that neurotransmitters secreted from taste buds during gustatory stimulation. He is confident that he is capable of making a sustained and important contribution to biomedical research and to the university community as an independent investigator.
His lab studies neurotransmitters and signal transduction in peripheral gustatory sensory organs—taste buds, using sophisticated anatomical and physiological methods. They apply functional Ca2+ imaging and biosensor cell techniques to examine signal processing in taste buds. His lab has identified several neurotransmitters—including serotonin (5-HT), ATP, norepinephrine, and γ- amino butyric acid (GABA)--that are secreted from taste bud cells and they have uncovered novel mechanisms for transmitter secretion. They are learning that cell-to-cell communication between neighboring taste cells is a key event before signals are sent to the brain via primary sensory fibers. In addition, they are exploring signal processing during sweet, bitter, umami and sour taste stimulation. His lab plays a pioneering role in the exploration of taste reception and provides important information for sensory processing in human health and disease.