December 29, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016!

Although in many respects 2016 was a bummer (RIP Prince and Princess Leia), it was a really terrific year for the lab. We celebrated in style with tapas, before bouncing, as is traditional, to Eastern Standard with the Sabalab and Stevens lab for vodka gimlets. Here's to us all having a happy and productive 2017!

This year, Jeff is Judas

Blue Steel

Paul, having trouble feeding himself

Concerned Co-ops!

December 28, 2016

One of the most interesting things about olfaction is....

....its intimate relationship with evolution. In addition to being the largest gene family in mammals, the odorant receptor genes are some of the fastest evolving. This suggests that perception is being sculpted on rapid timescales to enable individual species to detect and respond to those specific scents that are most critical for their survival and reproduction. Dan Bear (along with Jean Marc Lassance and Hopi Hoekstra) recently wrote a great review on what we can learn about smell by looking at evolutionary dynamics in Current Biology, which can be found here. It is part of a great review issue on evolution and the nervous system - check it out!

December 27, 2016

Congrats to Dan Bear, PhD!

A hearty mazeltov to Dan Bear, who recently gave a beautiful thesis defense and earned his PhD. Dan worked on the Ms4a genes, a new class of olfactory receptor he discovered (along with his colleague in the lab and benchmate, Paul Greer) that mediates sensory responses in the necklace olfactory subsystem (check out his super-cool paper here).  In addition to being an amazing scientist, knowing at least two pluralizations of "octopus" that are not "octopuses" or the incorrect "octopi," and the only person who really knows what is in Thom Yorke's heart, Dan both set the bar really high for the lab and defined many of the problems we are working on now. Thankfully for us, he is sticking around for a few months to finish up the follow-up to the first Ms4a paper, so it is not goodbye yet - just congrats at a job well done!

Dan deftly answering questions at his defense

The famous 10,000-word email

Toasting good fortune and hard work

Receiving the traditional lab gift

Dan will be missed!

Now, which brain is the pigeon?