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Joel Mainland_edited.jpg

Joel Mainland, PhD
Monell Chemical Senses Center, School of Medicine, UPenn

A fundamental problem in neuroscience is mapping the physical properties of a stimulus to perceptual characteristics. In vision, wavelength translates into color; in audition, frequency translates into pitch. By contrast, the mapping from chemical structure to olfactory percept is unknown. In other words, there is not a scientist or perfumer in the world who can view a novel molecular structure and predict how it will smell. My research goal is to develop a predictive model relating molecular structure and olfactory perception using a combined psychophysical and molecular approach.

The Lab


Robert Pellegrino

Postdoctoral Fellow


Liz Hamel

Postdoctoral Fellow


Federica Genovese

Research Associate

Matt Andreas.jpg

Matthew Andreas

Research Assistant

Selected Publications

Arshamian A, Gerkin RC, Kruspe N, Wnuk E, Floyd S, O’Meara C, Garrido Rodriguez G, Lundström JN, Mainland JD, Majid A. (2022)
The perception of odor pleasantness is shared across cultures, Current Biology

Lee BK, Mayhew EJ, Sanchez-Lengeling B, Wei JN, Qian WW, Little K, Andres M, Nguyen BB, Moloy T, Parker JK, Gerkin RC, Mainland JD, Wiltschko AB. (2022)
A Principal Odor Map Unifies Diverse Tasks in Human Olfactory Perception, Science

Li B, Kamarck ML, Peng Q, Lim FL, Keller A, Smeets MAM, Mainland JD, Wang S. (2022)
From musk to body odor: decoding olfaction through genetic variation, PLoS Genetics.

Mayhew EJ, Arayata CJ, Gerkin RC, Lee BK, Magill JM, Snyder LL, Little KA, Yu CW, Mainland JD. (2022)
Transport features predict if a molecule is odorous, PNAS.

Pellegrino R, Mainland JD, Kelly CE, Parker JK, Hummel T. (2021)
Prevalence and correlates of parosmia and phantosmia among smell disorders, Chemical Senses.

Ibarra-Soria X, Nakahara TS, Lilue J, Jiang Y, Trimmer C, Souza MAA, Netto PHM, Ikegami K, Murphy NR, Kusma M, Kirton A, Saraiva LR, Keane TM, Matsunami H, Mainland JD, Papes F, Logan DW (2016)
Variation in olfactory neuron repertoires is genetically controlled and environmentally modulated, eLife.

Mainland, J.D.; Li Y.R.; Zhou T.; Liu W.L.L.; Matsunami H. (2015)
Human Olfactory Receptor Responses to Odorants. Scientific Data.

Mainland, J.D.; Lundström, J.N.; Reisert, J.; Lowe, G. (2014)
From molecule to mind: An integrative perspective on odor intensity. Trends in Neuroscience, 1062, 1-12.

Mainland, J.D.; Keller, A.; Li, Y.R.; Zhou, T.; Trimmer, C.; Snyder, L.L.; et al. (2014)
The missense of smell: functional variability in the human odorant receptor repertoire. Nature Neuroscience, 17, 114-120.

Trimmer, C.; Snyder, L.L.; Mainland, J.D.. (2014)
High-throughput analysis of mammalian olfactory receptors: measurement of receptor activation via luciferase activity. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 88, e51640-e51640

Mainland, J.D.; Willer, J.R.; Matsunami, H.; Katsanis, N. (2013)
Next-generation sequencing of the human olfactory receptors. Methods in Molecular Biology.

Mainland JD, Matsunami H. (2012)
RAMP-like proteins: RTP and REEP family of proteins. Receptor Activity Modifying Proteins, Adv Exp Med Biol.

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