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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.

Research interests:

Neural circuitry underlying olfactory driven behaviors; mouse molecular genetics; development of neural circuits.

The Lab


Zhuoling He

Graduate Student


Kyungho Seong

Graduate Student


Maddie Ratkowski

Research Technician

Selected Publications

Shah ARatkowski M, Rosa A, Feinstein P, Bozza T (2021)

Olfactory expression of trace amine-associated receptors requires cooperative cis-acting enhancers. Nature Communications.

Cichy A, Shah A, Dewan A, Kaye S, Bozza T. (2019)

Genetic depletion of class I odorant receptors impacts perception of carboxylic acids. Curr Biol.

Dewan A, Cichy A, Zhang J, Miguel K, Feinstein P, Rinberg D, and Bozza T. (2018) 

Single olfactory receptors set odor detection thresholds. Nature Communications.


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


Smear M, Shusterman R, O'Connor R, Bozza T, and Rinberg D. (2011).
Perception of sniff phase in mouse olfaction. Nature. [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. [pdf]

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