Ben Warren

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow

Location

Adrian Building 305

Contact information

t: 0116 252 3338
e: bw120@le.ac.uk

Research Interests

My fascination with sensory neuroscience began with my childhood observations of mosquitoes swarming at dusk on long Summer days. The female mosquito’s high-pitched whine (all too familiar to victims of their bites) turns out to be necessary for male mosquitoes to locate them. The remarkable auditory sensitivity of mosquitoes is underpinned by ~16,000 neurons, jam-packed into a tiny structure: the Johnston’s organ. My imagination was captured by these mechanosensory neurons and sparked a question which has guided my research journey ever since:  How do insect auditory neurons transduce nanoscale displacements into neural potentials?
To pursue this question I migrated to the renowned Kloppenburg lab in Cologne to learn the art of patch-clamping: a powerful electrophysiological tool for understanding the inner workings of neurons. I gained further experience in the world-famous Göpfert lab in Göttingen which utilised the fruit fly to understand the molecular basis of mechanotransduction.
Studies of auditory neurons in insects were hampered by a lack of electrical recordings of the fundamental mechanical-to-electrical step. To address this gap in knowledge I turned to the locust, which has large accessible auditory neurons, which I brought the powerful patch-clamp technique to bear. I currently work in the fascinating lab of Tom Matheson studying the cellular basis of mechanotransduction in the locust ear.

Methods/Techniques

  • Non-invasive interferometer and Doppler laser recordings
  • Dual-neuron Patch-clamping
  • Two-photon imaging and dual staining
  • Extracellular and patch-clamp recordings from chordotonal organ stretch-sensitive neurons
  • Acoustic and video recording of swarming insects

Publications

Warren B and Göpfert M C Proprioceptive responses from the pentameric chordotonal organ of Drosophila larvae. In preparation for Journal of Experimental Biology.

Rotte C, Warren B, Bardos V, Schliecher S, Klein A, Kloppenburg P. Ca2+ dependent K+ currents in uniglomerular olfactory projection Neurons. Accepted for journal of Neurophysiology. 2015

Alexandre N, Spalthoff C, Kandasamy R, KatanaR, Rankl N B, Andrés M, Jähde P, Dorsch J A, Stam L F, Braun F-J, Warren B, Salgado V L, Göpfert M C. TRP channels in insect stretch-receptors as insecticide targets. Neuron Vol, 86 1-7, 2015.

Warren B, Kloppenburg P. Rapid and slow chemical synaptic interactions of cholinergic projection neurons and GABAergic local interneurons in the insect antennal lobe. Journal of Neuroscience Vol. 24, 13039-13046, 2014.

Warren B, D Fusca, Kloppenburg P. Chemical intracellular signalling in the antennal lobe of the cockroach Periplaneta Americana. 13th EuropeanSymposium on Insect Olfaction and Taste, Villasimius, Cagliari, Italy, 2013.

Warren B, Russell I J. Mosquitoes on the wing 'tune in' to acoustic distortion, Progress in auditory Biomechanics, p.479-480, 2011.

Warren B, Lukashkin A N, Russell I J. The dynein-tubulin powers active oscillations and amplification in the hearing organ of the mosquito, Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences Vol. 277, p.1761-1769, 2010.

Gibson G, Warren B, Russell I J. Humming in tune: sex and species recognition by mosquitoes on the wing, Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Vol. 11, p.527-540, 2010.

Pennetier C, Warren B, Dabire R, Russell I J, Gibson G. Singing on the wing as a mechanism for species recognition in the malarial mosquito Anopheles gambiae, Current Biology Vol. 20, Issue 2, p.131-136, 2009.

Warren B, Gibson G, Russell I J. Sex Recognition through Midflight Mating Duets in Culex Mosquitoes Is Mediated by Acoustic Distortion, Current Biology Vol. 19, p.485-491, 2009.

Impact

Auditory basis of mating in mosquitoes
Synaptic connectivity in the antennal lobe
Mechanotransduction in stretch-sensitive neurons

Keywords

Mechanotransduction
Mechanotransduction channel
Patch-clamp

Collaborators

Tom Matheson
Martin Göpfert
Marta Andres
Peter Kloppenburg

Memberships

Physiological Society
Society Experimental Biology

Teaching Skills/Experience

Sensory Neuroscience
Lab practicals

Other Relevant Interests/Activities

Cocktail making, Cross-country running, Teaching my daughter patch-clamping

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