While external sensory systems-- touch, taste, vision, hearing, and smell-- enable us to perceive the world around us, internal sensory systems enable us to perceive the hidden world within us. Recent advances have revealed the molecular mechanisms of how some sensory systems work, but other sensory systems remain uncharted. Fields of sensory biology often maintain separate cultures, independently studying different factors and exploring different frontiers through divergent perspectives, resulting in disjointed research at varying states of scientific maturity.
The goal of this meeting is to bring leading experts from different sensory fields together, and to cross-pollinate conceptual and technical advances between these discordant fields. The meeting will highlight recent advances in each external sense (vision, olfaction, taste, hearing, and touch/pain/temperature sensation) as well as new developments in the emerging field of internal organ sensation. Speakers will discuss a range of topics including (1) receptors and sensory mechanisms, (2) neural circuits, (3) behavioral and physiological responses, and (4) the genetic basis of sensory deficits. The mechanistic and ideological insights from each sensory field will provide novel research tools and directions to enable advances in many others. Bringing these communities together, to share their knowledge and strengths, will create a synergistic environment that will vastly accelerate progress in all of these fields, and initiate a collaborative culture which will build on itself long after the conclusion of the meeting.