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Nathaniel Himmel

Grad Student    

Nate obtained a B.S. in Biology from the University of Florida in 2013, and subsequently completed two years of post-baccalaureate research at Emory University, in the lab of Mitsi A. Blount, where he studied ion homeostasis and epithelial transport.  Nate joined the Neuroscience Institute in Fall 2015.

Now a PhD candidate in the Cox Lab, Nate’s research broadly concerns the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which sensory systems operate, the evolution of these mechanisms, and how they relate to human disease (e.g., neuropathic pain).  Specifically, Nate’s current work seeks to understand cold and chemical sensing in fruit fly larvae, the ecological relevance of cold- and chemical-evoked behaviors, and the evolution of the molecules that function in these sensory modalities.

Nate’s research has been nationally recognized by awards from the American Physiological Society (2015 and 2016), and at GSU, where he is a Georganne W. and Kenneth F. Honeycutt Fellow and a Brains & Behavior Fellow.

In addition to research and teaching assistantships, Nate serves as a daily research mentor for GSU’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), and was awarded the Neuroscience Institute’s 2019 Outstanding Graduate Mentorship Award.  He also serves as a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) advisor for GSU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).


Himmel NJ, Letcher JM, Gray TR, Benson MN, Cox DN. Drosophila menthol sensitivity and the Precambrian origins of TRP-dependent chemosensation. 2019 (in press). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. (Preprint available in bioRxiv

Lopez-Bellido R, Himmel NJ, Gutstein HB, Cox DN, and Galko MJ. An assay for chemical nociception in Drosophila larvae. 2019 (in press). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Himmel NJ, Rogers RT, Redd SK, Wang Y, and Blount MA.  Purinergic signaling is enhanced in the absence of UT-A1 and UT-A3. June 2019. Preprint available in BioRxiv.

Himmel NJ, Rodriguez DA, Wang Y, Sun MA, Blount MA. Chronic lithium treatment induces novel patterns of pendrin localization and expression. American Journal of Physiology Renal Physiology, 315(2):313-322, April 2018.

Himmel NJ and Cox DN.  Sensing the cold: TRP channels in thermal nociception. May 2017. Commentary in Channels.

Himmel NJ*, Patel AA*, and Cox DN. Invertebrate Nociception. March 2017. Review in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.

Turner HN*, Armengol K*, Patel AA, Himmel NJ, Sullivan L, Iyer SC, Battacharya S, Iyer EPR, Landry C, Galko MJ, and Cox DN. The TRP channels Pkd2, NompC, and Trpm mediate unique aversive behaviors to noxious cold in Drosophila. December 2016. Current Biology. 10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.038

Sim JH, Himmel NJ, Redd SK, Pulous FE, Rogers RT, Black LN, Hong SM, von Bergen TN, and Blount MA. Absence of PKC-alpha attenuates lithium-induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. July 2014. PLOS One.