Research Faculty

701 West 168th Street
Room 1014
New York, NY 10032

Phone: 212-305-6915
Fax: 212-923-7249
Richard Axel, M.D.
University Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular
Biophysics and Pathology
Research Summary

Richard Axel'’s laboratory is interested in the transformations that translate odor binding in the periphery into neural activity in olfactory centers in the brain. Olfactory perception is initiated by the recognition of odors by a large repertoire of receptors in neurons of the sensory epithelium. The representation of neural activity in the nose is converted into an insular, segregated map in the olfactory bulb that exhibits chemotopic relationships. This transformation results from the convergence of like axons, each bearing the same receptor, on a given glomerulus. This organization combines the robustness of a redundant, spatially unbiased sampling system in the nose with the economy of a condensed spatial representation in the olfactory bulb. Optical imaging of responses in the cortex reveals a second transformation in which odors activate a sparse subpopulation of neurons distributed across the piriform cortex. The piriform therefore discards chemotopic, spatial segregation and returns to a highly dispersed organization in which different odors activate a unique ensemble of cortical neurons.
Selected Publications

Please click the PubMed link below to view Dr. Axel's publications:

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