Oregon Health and Science University, Portland OR, 2017.Ph.D.: Molecular Biology and
Genetics. University of Alberta, Canada, 2010.B.Sc.: Honors with
distinction in Molecular Genetics. University of Alberta, Canada, 2004.
What we perceive as
sound begins as vibrating air molecules. As such, our sense of hearing is a
form of mechanosensation, a sense of distant touch. Hearing loss can result
from genetic mutations that affect the sound receptors in the inner ear called hair
cells. Hair cells have specialized projections on their apical surface
known as the “hair bundle” that acts as the sensor for auditory and vestibular
information. One of the major questions in hearing research is how the hair cell
can convert mechanical information (sound) into neural signals that our brain
My lab uses zebrafish as a model system to understand
our sense of hearing and balance. Why use zebrafish? Because all vertebrate hair
cells operate on the same genetic principles, we can take advantage of the
tools available for zebrafish research and apply them to the problem of hair
cell function. We play to the strengths of the zebrafish model, such as creating
transgenic fish to study protein localization and function, and using CRISPR/Cas9
to alter gene function. Moreover, our ability to image hair-cell proteins in live
zebrafish is unmatched by any other system. By using a combination of molecular
genetics, transcriptomics, live cell imaging and behavioral tests, the Erickson
lab is working to understand how sound vibrations are sensed and transmitted by
I am looking for students who are excited about exploring the molecular genetics of auditory behavior and function. Working in my lab will not only give you research experience in a clinically-relevant area of human health, but will also serve to hone your skills in scientific inquiry, genetics, molecular biology, and microscopy. Please contact me via email if you are looking for undergraduate research experience or if you want to pursue a MSc. or PhD. in the Biology Department at ECU.
Timothy Erickson, Clive P. Morgan, Jennifer Olt, Katherine
Hardy, Elisabeth Busch-Nentwich, Reo Maeda, Rachel Clemens-Grisham, Jocelyn F.
Krey, Alex Nechiporuk, Walter Marcotti, Peter G. Barr-Gillespie and Teresa
Nicolson. Integration of Tmc1/2
into the mechanotransduction complex in zebrafish hair cells is regulated by
Transmembrane O-methyltransferase (Tomt). eLife 2017;6:e28474.
Reo Maeda, Itallia
V. Pacentine, Timothy Erickson and
Teresa Nicolson. Functional analysis of the transmembrane and cytoplasmic
domains of Pcdh15a in hair cells. Journal of Neuroscience 37: 3231-3245 (2017).
Timothy Erickson and Teresa Nicolson. Cell type-specific
transcriptomic analysis by thiouracil tagging in zebrafish. Methods in Cell
Biology. 135, 309–28 (2016).
Timothy Erickson and Teresa Nicolson. Identification of sensory hair-cell transcripts by thiouracil-tagging in
zebrafish. BMC Genomics 16:
Reo Maeda, Katie S.
Kindt, Weike Mo, Clive P. Morgan, Timothy
Erickson, Hongyu Zhao, Rachel Clemens-Grisham, Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, and
Teresa Nicolson. Tip-link protein protocadherin 15 interacts with transmembrane
channel-like proteins TMC1 and TMC2. PNAS
111: 12907-12912 (2014).
Timothy Erickson, Laura M. Pillay and Andrew J. Waskiewicz. Zebrafish Tshz3b negatively regulates
Hox function in the developing hindbrain. Genesis
49: 725-742 (2011).
Timothy Erickson, Curtis R. French, and Andrew J. Waskiewicz.
Meis1 specifies positional information in the retina and tectum to organize the
zebrafish visual system. Neural
Development 5:22 (2010).
Laura M. Pillay, A.
Michael Forrester, Timothy Erickson,
Jason N. Berman, and Andrew J. Waskiewicz. The Hox cofactors Meis1 and Pbx act
upstream of gata1 to regulate primitive hematopoiesis. Developmental Biology 340:
Curtis R. French, Timothy Erickson, Danielle V. French,
David B. Pilgrim, and Andrew J. Waskiewicz. Gdf6a is required for
dorsal-ventral retinal patterning and lens development. Developmental Biology 333:37-47
Curtis R. French, Timothy Erickson, Davon Callander,
Karyn M. Berry, Ron Koss, Daniel W. Hagey, Jennifer Stout, Katrin
Wuennenberg-Stapleton, John Ngai, Cecilia B. Moens, and Andrew J. Waskiewicz.
Pbx homeodomain proteins pattern both the zebrafish retina and tectum. BMC Developmental Biology 7: 85 (2007).
Timothy Erickson, Steffen Schlopp, Michael Brand, Cecilia B.
Moens, and Andrew Jan Waskiewicz. Pbx proteins cooperate with Engrailed to
pattern the midbrain-hindbrain and diencephalic-mesencephalic boundaries. Developmental Biology 301: 504-517 (2007).