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Xinzhong Dong wants to understand the mechanisms underlying itch and pain. These sensations are predominantly mediated by a subset of primary sensory neurons known as nociceptors. Working in mice, Dong and his team are focused on Mrgprs, a family of G protein-coupled receptors that act in nociceptors and immune cells such as mast cells and neutrophils. They also are studying how Mrgprs contribute to innate immunity, inflammation, pain, and drug toxicity. The team integrates molecular biology with animal behavior, in vivo imaging, and electrophysiology to gain new insights into these diverse biological processes, with an eye toward the development of novel anti-itch and pain drugs.