07/02/2014 - 12:00 - Sala Marie Curie

Scents and sensibility: How Biology perceives Chemistry in the olfactory system

Scientific sessions, PRBB CRG Conferences

Stuart Firestein

Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University. New York, USA

Stuart Firestein, from the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University in New York, US, investigates the sense of smell, olfaction. He takes a wide ranging approach beginning with the chemistry of odors, their detection by the specialized cells in the nose and the ways in which that information is processed by the brain to produce a perception of a rose from the blend five kinds of molecules. The sense of smell is critical in detecting dangers, finding food, locating receptive mates and caring for young. It also serves as an especially effective model system for investigating fundamental mechanisms at work in the brain, specially molecular recognition. Other crucial questions in neuroscience that can be studied in olfactory cells are gene regulation, axon path finding, neural regeneration, local circuit processing and aging in the brain. Firestein is also dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience. He has been invited by Matthieu Louis and Yogi Jaeger (CRG).