Tag Archives: Leslie B. Vosshall

Research suggests how mosquitoes evolved an attraction to human scent

Research suggests how mosquitoes evolved an attraction to human scentTo understand the evolutionary basis of the mosquito’s attraction to humans, scientists examined the genes that drive preferences of two different subspecies. Their findings suggest that Aedes aegypti aegypti acquired a love for human body odor, a key step in specializing on people. More »

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Genetically driven gut feelings help female flies choose a mate

Genetically driven gut feelings help female flies choose a mateResearchers at Rockefeller University have determined that the Abdominal-B (Abd-B) gene, previously known as the gene that sculpts the posterior parts of the developing fly, is also important for a complex courtship behavior, at least in the case of female flies. More »

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Sniff study suggests humans can distinguish more than 1 trillion scents

Rockefeller researchers tested the sensitivity of volunteers’ noses and brains, and determined that the human sense of smell is far more refined than previously thought. While individual volunteers’ performance varied, on average people can tell the difference between complex mixtures of odors even when they contain many of the same components. More »

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Research shows combination of sensory signals draw mosquitoes in for a bite

Researchers used a genome editing technique to engineer a mutant version of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads yellow fever. The mutant was unable to detect carbon dioxide, and studies showed that this hindered its ability to detect a host, even in the presence of other sensory cues like heat and odor. The results can help inform the design of chemical repellents to block host-seeking behavior in both Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae, which spreads malaria. More »

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Mutant mosquitoes lose their appetite for humans

Scientists in Leslie Vosshall’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller used a genetically modified mosquito to show that a specific gene called orco gives the insects a strong preference for humans over other mammals, and that the insect repellant DEET uses this pathway to deter mosquitoes from biting. More »

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Rockefeller postdoc named finalist for Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists

Agnel Sfeir, a postdoctoral fellow in Titia de Lange’s Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, has been named a finalist in the fourth annual Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists competition, which recognizes the contributions of young scientists and engineers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. More »

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Leslie Vosshall promoted to professor

A neurobiologist whose research focuses on the mechanism of smell has been granted tenure by the university’s Board of Trustees. More »

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Leslie Vosshall, Paul Greengard win Dart/NYU biotech awards

Rockefeller scientists receive honors for their contributions to next-generation insect repellents and drugs to treat neurological diseases. More »

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Rockefeller postdoc wins GE & Science Prize

Michael Crickmore has been named Grand Prize winner in the essay competition, which recognizes outstanding graduate students in molecular biology. Crickmore’s essay, titled “The Molecular Basis of Size Differences,” comes with $25,000 and publication in Science. More »

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Scientists detect an ancient odor-detecting mechanism in insects

A newly discovered family of receptors in the fly nose fills in a missing piece of the insect olfactory system, and also suggests a new role for a class of receptors long believed to be confined to the depths of the brain. More »

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In lean times, flies can’t survive without their sense of smell

In the wild, survival means everything. Now, working with fruit flies reared under laboratory conditions, researchers at Rockefeller University have shown that in times of plenty, the sense of smell is irrelevant for survival. But when food is scarce, a well-functioning nose can mean the difference between life and death. More »

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Two Rockefeller faculty become new HHMI investigators

Two Rockefeller University faculty members, Paul D. Bieniasz and Leslie B. Vosshall, have been named HHMI investigators and will receive stable financial support for their research over a period of several years, allowing them to conduct high-risk research and follow their ideas through to fruition. More »

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Insects evolved a radically different strategy to smell

To find their prey, insects use smell. But scientists at Rockefeller University have found that they don’t detect odors the same way other animals do. These findings, which break with the ideology of the field, could lead to new insect repellents that effectively and safely keep backyard biters at bay and reduce the incidence of diseases they transmit. More »

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Chemical in bug spray works by masking human odors

The United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army invented DEET, a chemical found in bug spray, to protect soldiers from disease-transmitting insects. But now, thanks to Rockefeller University researchers, we know how it works. By pinpointing DEET’s molecular target in insects, these researchers have shown that the widely used bug repellent masks human odors that blood-feeding insects find attractive — work that makes it possible not only to improve upon DEET’s repellent properties but also make it a safer chemical. More »

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New launched study to probe women’s response to male odor

Four months ago, Rockefeller University researchers discovered a direct link between a person’s genes and their perception of androstadienone, a chemical found in male sweat. Now, the same researchers are launching a new study to explore whether people’s perception of androstadienone corresponds to their physiological responses to it. Ultimately, the researchers hope to determine whether androstadienone, a derivative of testosterone and a potential (and invisible) social signal, affects how men and women interact with one another. More »

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New method enables scientists to see smells

Animals and insects communicate through an invisible world of scents. By exploiting infrared technology, researchers at Rockefeller University just made that world visible. Now, with the ability to see smells, these scientists show that the brains of Drosophila melanogaster larvae not only make use of stereo cues to locate odors but also to navigate toward them. More »

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Small experience during critical period alters brain

Genes may provide the land, but experience defines the landscape. Now, researchers at Rockefeller University show that a fly’s external environment can alter the genetically determined circuit that detects carbon dioxide, a gas that alerts flies to sources of food and other flies that are experiencing stress. While the structure and function of the neurons that pick up the sensory signals and send them to the brain remain unaltered, those that communicate between the two show significant changes in function and confer neural plasticity onto the fly brain. More »

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Multi-lab collaboration yields first detailed map of nuclear pore complex

The pores that lead into a cell’s nucleus play an incredibly important role in the cell’s metabolism and signaling. Now, Rockefeller University researchers have drafted a protein-by-protein map of the nuclear pore complex’s structure, providing a glimpse into the evolution of the nucleus itself. More »

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Accessory protein determines whether pheromones are detected

Pheromones are big, fatty molecules that living organisms emit in order to send messages to individuals of the same species. New research at Rockefeller University has identified an unanticipated protein that snatches these pheromones and hands them off to their specific pheromone receptor. It is the first time this CD36-related protein, called SNMP, and its mechanism of action have been implicated in pheromone detection; the mechanism also appears to underlie the diverse biological functions regulated by CD36 proteins, ranging from how we taste fats to how our immune system detects and responds to foreign invaders. More »

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Gene determines whether male body odor smells pleasant

Up to one third of the adult human population does not perceive an odor in androstenone, a component of male body odor that has been shown to induce physiological responses in both men and women. To those who do, androstenone either takes on a pleasant sweet odor or a repulsive urine-like one. New research from Rockefeller University and Duke University traces this variability to point mutations in a single odorant receptor gene, a finding that raises questions of how people detect other people’s body odor. More »

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