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The Monell Center announced its newest faculty member, olfactory scientist Joel Mainland. Mainland is a neuroscientist studying the molecular biology of odor receptors and focusing on mapping the physical characteristics of odorant molecules to the odors they generate. His goal is to develop a predictive model that relates molecular structure and olfactory perception.
Mainland’s research employs novel techniques not yet represented at Monell. He uses single human olfactory receptors and evaluates how small genetic variations in the receptor alter which odor molecules will activate it. “This provides a great bridge between genetics and human perception,” he says.
Of joining Monell, Mainland comments, “I received great feedback and ideas for future research directions, and was inundated with the enthusiasm that comes from talking to others who are interested in similar problems.” He also expressed looking forward to benefiting from the shared knowledge and resources Monell is able to offer.