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Thomas Bozza, PhD

Chemistry of Life Processes Institute | Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University

Molecular recognition underlies all biological processes. A fundamental question in biology is how systems, from individual proteins to organisms, recognize molecular structure. The vertebrate olfactory system is a remarkable molecular recognition device. Animals can detect odorous chemicals at extremely low concentrations, and can discriminate among an enormous number of structurally diverse molecules. The long-term goal of our work is to understand how the nervous system encodes molecular information, and how neural circuits give rise to learned and innate olfactory-driven behaviors.



Regions(s): Brain and Behavior; Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience; Neurogenetics

Research interest(s): Neural circuitry underlying olfactory driven behaviors; Mouse molecular genetics; Development of neural circuits


The Lab


Annika Cichy

Postdoctoral Fellow


Hallie Kirschner

Research Technician


Ami Shah

Postdoctoral Fellow


Sarah Porter

Research Technician


Jingji Zhang

Postdoctoral Fellow


Maddie Ratkowski


Selected Publications

Smear M, Resulaj A, Zhang J, Bozza T, and Rinberg D. (2013)
Multiple perceptible signals from a single olfactory glomerulus. Nature Neuroscience, 16: 1687-1691. [pdf]

Dewan A, Pacifico R, Zhan R, Rinberg D, and Bozza T (2013)
Non-redundant coding of aversive odours in the main olfactory pathway . Nature, 497:486-489. [pdf]

Zhang J, Pacifico R, Cawley D, Feinstein P, and Bozza T. (2013)
Ultrasensitive detection of amines by a trace amine-associated receptor. J Neurosci, 33(7): 3228-3239. [pdf]

Pacifico, R., Dewan, A., Cawley, D., Guo, C., and Bozza, T. (2012).
An Olfactory Subsystem that Mediates High-Sensitivity Detection of Volatile Amines. Cell Reports. 2(1):76-88. [pdf]

Zhang J, Huang G, Dewan A, Feinstein P, and Bozza T. (2012)
Uncoupling stimulus specificity and glomerular location in the mouse olfactory system. Mol Cell Neurosci, 51:79-88. [pdf]


Smear M, Shusterman R, O'Connor R, Bozza T, and Rinber D. (2011).
Perception of sniff phase in mouse olfaction. Nature, 479: 397–400. [pdf]


Bozza, T, Vassalli, A., Fuss, S., Zhang, J.-J., Weiland, B., Pacifico, R., Feinstein, P., and Mombaerts, P. (2009).
Mapping of Class I and Class II Odorant Receptors to Glomerular Domains by Two Distinct Types of Olfactory Sensory Neurons. Neuron, 61: 220-233. [pdf]

Selected Honors/Rewards

2011 Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant

2009 Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant

2008 Visiting Scientist, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus

2007 Whitehall Foundation, Grant in Vertebrate and Invertebrate Neurobiology

2001 Presidential Fellowship, The Rockefeller University

1998 National Research Service Award (NIH-NIDCD)

1997 Tucker Award, International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste, San Diego, CA

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