Nobel laureate and co-director of Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute Richard Axel, MD, will share his acclaimed research and insights into how the brain knows what the nose is smelling.
The human nose has the extraordinary ability to distinguish 10,000 smells. But how the nose transmits these smells to the brain, and how the brain interprets them, had long remained a mystery. In a series of pioneering studies that shed light on the link between the nose and the brain, Dr. Axel along with Linda B. Buck won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In their prize-winning work, the researchers discovered the more than 1,000 genes that encode olfactory receptors in the nose—the molecules responsible for sending smells to the brain.
Today, Dr. Axel's research continues to focus on olfactory perception, in particular, how the sense of smell is established during development, how it may change over time and ultimately how certain smells can elicit appropriate thoughts and behaviors.
This talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.