Neural Mapping of Olfactory Functioning
May 23, 2005
Researchers Closer to Learning the Underlying Logic of the Olfactory System
Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have succeeded in mapping the unique patterns of neural activity produced by a wide range of odors, including vanilla, skunk, fish, urine, musk, and chocolate. Revealing these distinct - but often overlapping - patterns of neural activity represents a significant step in understanding how the brain translates complex signals from odorant receptors in the nose into odor perception in the brain, the researchers said.
The research team, which was led by HHMI investigator Linda B. Buck at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, published its findings May 23, 2005, in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Buck's co-authors included postdoctoral fellows Zhihua Zou and Fusheng Li. Buck shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with HHMI investigator Richard Axel of Columbia University for their discovery of the huge family of odorant receptors and their previous work on the organization of the olfactory system.
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Anthony H. Risser | neuroscience | neuropsychology | brain