Chemical Sensing, Pain and Inflammation Research Laboratory

Chemical Sensing, Pain and Inflammation Research Laboratory

Lab Description

Research in the Jordt laboratory focuses on the mechanisms that enable humans and animals to sense touch, pain and irritation. These fundamental sensations originate in peripheral sensory neurons which contain signaling pathways that translate environmental physical and chemical stimuli into neural activity. Our aims are to identify the molecular components of these pathways and to understand how sensory neurons become activated and sensitized during injury, inflammation and chronic painful conditions. The lab uses molecular, genetic and physiological techniques with a focus on models that closely mimic human conditions.

Current projects focus on:

  1. Ion channels and New Targets in Pain: The Jordt lab investigates the role of Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels, a group of ion channels that activate sensory neurons and pain sensations in response to thermal (hot, cold) and chemical stimuli. TRP channels were identified through their interactions with natural products such as capsaicin (in chili peppers), mustard oil (in mustard and wasabi) and menthol (in peppermint), and were shown to be involved in many painful conditions, including arthritis, diabetes and infections. The Jordt lab is studying the actions of TRP channel inhibitors in pain models and investigates mechanisms through which natural products elicit or inhibit acute and inflammatory pain.
  2. Allergies, Asthma and Itch: Sensory neurons mediate the sensations of itch, irritation and respiratory discomfort in allergic conditions. Research in the Jordt laboratory has revealed that blocking sensory nerves by targeting their receptors alleviates asthmatic conditions and also diminishes itch and inflammation in allergic contact dermatitis. We developed a unique model of poison ivy contact dermatitis we study to identify novel treatments to suppress itch in conditions unresponsive to antihistamines.
  3. Chemical Exposure Injuries and Tear Gas Agents: Supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) program since 2006, the Jordt laboratory has made key contributions to research understanding the injury mechanisms following toxic chemical exposures. We identified TRPA1 as a target of chlorine gas and many other toxic exposures eliciting incapacitating pain, inflammation and organ injury. The Jordt laboratory is actively working with federal agencies and industry partners to identify additional targets and develop countermeasures that improve health outcomes following chemical exposures. Other studies focus on tear gas agents (CS, CN) and their potentially toxic effects, a topic Dr. Jordt has been interviewed on frequently by the public press.
  4. Tobacco Regulatory Science: Menthol cigarettes are increasingly popular, especially with adolescent beginning smokers. Applying our expertise in chemical sensory biology the Jordt lab demonstrated that menthol reduces the irritation sensed when inhaling smoke and increases markers of nicotine uptake. These effects are mediated by TRPM8, the cold/menthol receptor in sensory neurons innervating the respiratory system. This work is supported by programs from the FDA and NIDA through a Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS), also supporting studies on flavor additives in electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

April 2022
WTVD-TV Interviews Dr. Jordt About FDA’s Proposed Menthol Cigarettes Ban

September 2021
Dr. Sven-Eric Jordt interviewed by Scientific American on mechanisms of itch and inflammation in poison ivy contact dermatitis.

May 1, 2021
Dr. Jordt quoted in The New York Times on health effects of tear gas

April 30, 2021
Dr. Jordt quoted in The Guardian on how tear gas affects the health of children

March 19, 2021
Dr. Jordt quoted in The Washington Post on bear spray and how it affects humans

March 11, 2020
Bacterial Inflammatory Mediators Cause Damage of Lung-Innervating Nerves

January 8, 2020
EurekAlert! An Often-Made Claim That E-Cigarettes are ‘95% Safer’ is Not Valid

December 5, 2019
Dr. Jordt Interviewed by Time on the Long Term Effects of Tear Gas Use in Hong Kong

November 19, 2019
Dr. Jordt Interviewed by Popular Science on Tear Gas in Hong Kong, Lack of Health Information and Countermeasures

November 1, 2019
Dr. Jordt Featured in Environmental Factor on the Potential Effects Vaping Has on the Body

October 24, 2019
Dr. Jordt Co-Authors WHO Report Informing International Regulators on the Scientific Basis of Tobacco Product Regulation

September 9, 2019
Dr. Jordt Interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio About Vaping and What It Does To Our Health

September 6, 2019
Dr. Jordt Weighs in on Ways to Neutralize Tear Gas Canisters in this Daily Mail Article

September 5, 2019
Dr. Jordt Quoted in this BuzzFeed News Article About the Export of Tear Gas Made in the USA

September 3, 2019
Dr. Jordt Explains How Tear Gas Works in this Popular Mechanics Article

August 27, 2019
Dr. Jordt Quoted in Kaiser Health News on Mysterious Vaping Lung Injuries

August 20, 2019
Dr. Jordt Quoted in Wired About the Health Effects of Vaping on the Vascular System

August 16, 2019
Dr. Jordt Featured in Gizmodo About the Rise of Lung Disease Linked to Vaping

July 31, 2019
A Joint Study Between Dr. Jordt’s Lab and Yale University Raises Concerns About Juul Products
Referenced Article: American Journal of Preventative Medicine

June 17, 2019
Dr. Jordt Weighs in on the Use of Tear Gas During Protests in Hong Kong

June 10, 2019
The BMJ: Tobacco Industry’s Investment in Sweetness Comes Full Circle

June 1, 2019
Dr. Jordt elected Co-Chair of Basic Science Network of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT)

May 30, 2019
Dr. Jordt Provides Insight About the Possible Health Effects of Secondhand Vape

May 30, 2019
Dr. Jordt Provides Insight About the Possible Health Effects of Secondhand Vape

May 7, 2019
Dr. Jordt Weighs in on the Dangers of Smoking Versus Vaping

January 31, 2019
Dr. Jordt Interviewed by Gizmodeo on new UK Study on E-cigarettes as Cessation Aids Published in NEJM

January 25, 2019
The BMJ: Sweeteners are Added to Modify Consumer Behavior

January 22, 2019
Dr. Jordt Receives Leading Edge in Basic Science Award

December 11, 2018
Dr. Achanta Awarded Grant for Cardiovascular Research Project

November 26, 2018
Dr. Jordt Cited on the Use of Pepper Spray and Tear Gas at the Border to Mexico
Washington Post | CNN | USA Today | Scientific American | Newsweek

October 18, 2018
Dr. Jordt and Yale Researchers Publish Study on E-Cigarette Liquids that may Form Lung Irritants
Duke Health News | CNN | Daily Mail | Nicotine & Tobacco Research Article

October 2, 2018
JAMA: Cigars Sweeter Than Candy Attract Adolescents to Smoking

September 17, 2018
NIH Renews Funding for Duke/Yale Collaboration on Tobacco Products

August 6, 2018
Dr. Jordt Awarded Prestigious R01 Grant to Study Effects of E-Cigarettes

March 10, 2018
Jordt Lab Identifies Experimental Treatment Approach for Skin Injuries Caused by Mustard Gas

March 9, 2018
Jordt Lab Research Cited in WHO Publication on Regulation of Menthol in Tobacco Products

February 7, 2018
Dr. Jordt Featured on Radio In Viro podcast on Tear Gas, Poison Ivy and More

April 18, 2017
Dr. Jordt Contributes to Official American Thoracic Society Document on Chemical Weapons Threats and Countermeasures

April 10, 2017
Dr. Jordt cited on ABC News, New York Daily News and The Independent on use of tear gas in Venezuela protests.

November 8, 2016
Jordt Lab Study On Poison Ivy Mechanism Featured on CBS News Page.

November 7, 2016
Jordt Lab Study Shows Antibody Can Soothe Raging Nerve Driven Poison Ivy Itch.

October 3, 2016
Jordt Lab Study Shows That Menthol Makes Nicotine More Palatable.

July 8, 2016
Tear Gas: An Epidemiological and Mechanistic Reassessment.

May 23, 2016
High-Intensity Sweeteners in Alternative Tobacco Products.

April 8, 2015
Dr. Jordt Interviewed by Wired Magazine on Structural Breakthrough for Pain Medicine

February 18, 2015
New Jordt lab publication : Menthol makes cigarette smoke more tolerable, making it easier to start smoking

August 28, 2014
Jordt Lab Science Featured on Duke Today

August 24, 2014
New York Magazine: Dr. Jordt on Tear Gas Effects

August 21, 2014
Dr. Jordt Interviewed on MSNBC on Health Effects of Tear Gas

August 19, 2014
Dr. Jordt Interviewed on NPR Marketplace on the Economics of Tear Gas

August 19, 2014
Dr. Jordt Describes Action of Tear Gas in USA Today

August 15, 2014
Report on Scientific American on Tear Gas Deployment in Ferguson, MO, Citing Dr. Jordt

Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD
Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD
Laboratory Director
Associate Professor

Satya Achanta, DVM, PhD
Satya Achanta, DVM, PhD
Assistant Professor

Anabel De Caceres Bustos, PhD
Anabel De Caceres Bustos, PhD
Senior Research Scientist

Default Doctor
Alexandra Diaz
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sairam Jabba, DVM, PhD
Sairam Jabba, DVM, PhD
Research Scientist

Boyi Liu, PhD
Boyi Liu, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Alan Marcus, PhD
Alan Marcus, PhD
Research Scientist

Bernadette O'Donovan, PhD
Bernadette O’Donovan, PhD
Senior Research Associate

Default Doctor
Wenyi Ouyang
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Pau Yen Wu, PhD
Pau Yen Wu, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate

  1. Eissenberg T, Bhatnagar A, Chapman S, Jordt SE, Shihadeh A, Soule EK. Invalidity of an Oft-Cited Estimate of the Relative Harms of Electronic Cigarettes. Am J Public Health. 2020 Feb;110(2):161-162.
  2. Balakrishna S, Song W, Achanta S, Doran SF, Liu B, Kaelberer MM, Yu Z, Sui A, Cheung M, Leishman E, Eidam HS, Ye G, Willette RN, Thorneloe KS, Bradshaw HB, Matalon S, Jordt SE. TRPV4 inhibition counteracts edema and inflammation and improves pulmonary function and oxygen saturation in chemically induced acute lung injury. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2014 Jul 15;307(2):L158-72. Epub 2014 May 16.
  3. Gui J, Liu B, Cao G, Lipchik AM, Perez M, Dekan Z, Mobli M, Daly NL, Alewood PF, Parker LL, King GF, Zhou Y, Jordt SE, Nitabach MN. A tarantula-venom peptide antagonizes the TRPA1 nociceptor ion channel by binding to the S1-S4 gating domain. Curr Biol. 2014 Mar 3;24(5):473-83. Epub 2014 Feb 13.
  4. Liu B, Fan L, Balakrishna S, Sui A, Morris JB, Jordt SE. TRPM8 is the principal mediator of menthol-induced analgesia of acute and inflammatory pain. Pain. 2013 Oct;154(10):2169-77. Epub 2013 Jun 29.
  5. Liu B, Escalera J, Balakrishna S, Fan L, Caceres AI, Robinson E, Sui A, McKay MC, McAlexander MA, Herrick CA, Jordt SE. TRPA1 controls inflammation and pruritogen responses in allergic contact dermatitis. FASEB J. 2013 Sep;27(9):3549-63. Epub 2013 May 30.
  6. Willis DN, Liu B, Ha MA, Jordt SE, Morris JB. Menthol attenuates respiratory irritation responses to multiple cigarette smoke irritants. FASEB J. 2011 Dec;25(12):4434-44. Epub 2011 Sep 8.
  7. Schulze C, McGowan M, Jordt SE, Ehrlich BE. Prolonged oxaliplatin exposure alters intracellular calcium signaling: a new mechanism to explain oxaliplatin-associated peripheral neuropathy. Clin Colorectal Cancer. 2011 Jun;10(2):126-33. Epub 2011 Apr 22.
  8. Jordt SE. Trigeminal TRPs and the scent of pain. Pain. 2011 Jan;152(1):4-5. Epub 2010 Nov 30.
  9. Bessac BF, Jordt SE. Sensory detection and responses to toxic gases: mechanisms, health effects, and countermeasures. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2010 Jul;7(4):269-77.
  10. Lanosa MJ, Willis DN, Jordt S, Morris JB. Role of metabolic activation and the TRPA1 receptor in the sensory irritation response to styrene and naphthalene. Toxicol Sci. 2010 Jun;115(2):589-95. Epub 2010 Feb 22.
  11. Caceres AI, Brackmann M, Elia MD, Bessac BF, del Camino D, D’Amours M, Witek JS, Fanger CM, Chong JA, Hayward NJ, Homer RJ, Cohn L, Huang X, Moran MM, Jordt SE. A sensory neuronal ion channel essential for airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in asthma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 2;106(22):9099-104. Epub 2009 May 19.

Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD

Sven-Eric Jordt, PhD

Laboratory Director
Associate Professor in Anesthesiology
Faculty, Center for Translational Pain Medicine

Contact Us

Office: 919-684-1319
Fax: 919-684-2411

Chris KeithChemical Sensing, Pain and Inflammation Research Laboratory