Thomas Bozza Associate Professor of Neurobiology

Research Interests

Molecular Genetics and Physiology of Olfaction

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 the genetic and cellular mechanisms used by the nervous system to encode molecular information. 

Olfactory stimuli are detected by an array of sensory neurons in the nasal cavity, each of which expresses a single odorant receptor gene. Neurons expressing the same receptor make specific connections to discrete structures (called glomeruli) in the olfactory bulb. In this way, the odorant receptor repertoire (~1000 genes in the mouse) is mapped onto the array of glomeruli in the brain. Our laboratory uses a combination of mouse genetics, functional imaging and electrophysiology to investigate how the receptor map forms.

Selected Publications

Sensory Neurobiology: Demystifying the Sick Sense. Bozza T. Current Biology. 2015 February 16;25(4):R153-R155.

Precise Detection of Direct Glomerular Input Duration by the Olfactory Bulb. Li A, Gire DH, Bozza T, and Restrepo D. Journal of Neuroscience. 2014 November 26;34(48):16058-16064.

Multiple perceptible signals from a single olfactory glomerulus. Smear M, Resulaj A, Zhang J, Bozza T, and Rinberg D. Nature Neuroscience. 2013 November ;16(11):1687-1691.

Non-redundant coding of aversive odours in the main olfactory pathway. Dewan A, Pacifico R, Zhan R, Rinberg D, and Bozza T.Nature. 2013 May 23;497(7450):486-489.

Ultrasensitive Detection of Amines by a Trace Amine-Associated Receptor. Zhang J, Pacifico R, Cawley D, Feinstein P, and BozzaT. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 February 13;33(7):3228-3239.

Uncoupling stimulus specificity and glomerular position in the mouse olfactory system. Zhang J, Huang G, Dewan A, Feinstein P, and Bozza T. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 2012 November;51(3-4):79-88.

An Olfactory Subsystem that Mediates High-Sensitivity Detection of Volatile Amines. Pacifico R, Dewan A, Cawley D, Guo C, andBozza T. Cell Reports. 2012 July 26;2(1):76-88.

The Alzheimer's β-secretase enzyme BACE1 is required for accurate axon guidance of olfactory sensory neurons and normal glomerulus formation in the olfactory bulb. Rajapaksha TW, Eimer WA, Bozza TC, and Vassar R. Molecular Neurodegeneration.2011 December 28;6:88.

Perception of sniff phase in mouse olfaction. Smear M, Shusterman R, O'Connor R, Bozza T, and Rinberg D. Nature. 2011 November 17;479(7373):397-400.

Mapping of Class I and Class II Odorant Receptors to Glomerular Domains by Two Distinct Types of Olfactory Sensory Neurons in the MouseBozza T, Vassalli A, Fuss S, Zhang J-J, Weiland B, Pacifico R, Feinstein P, and Mombaerts P. Neuron. 2009 January 29;61(2):220-233.

Axon Guidance of Mouse Olfactory Sensory Neurons by Odorant Receptors and the β2 Adrenergic Receptor. Feinstein P, BozzaT, Rodriguez I, Vassalli A, and Mombaerts P. Cell. 2004 June 11;117(6):833-846.

In Vivo Imaging of Neuronal Activity by Targeted Expression of a Genetically Encoded Probe in the MouseBozza T, McGann JP, Mombaerts P, and Wachowiak M. Neuron. 2004 April 8;42(1):9-21.

View all publications by Thomas Bozza listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).