| Share
 

Richard Axel

Axel, Richard (ăkˈsĕl) [key], 1946–, American pathologist and biochemist, b. New York City, M.D. Johns Hopkins, 1970. A professor at Columbia from 1978, Axel was awarded, with Linda B. Buck, the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for elucidating the human olfactory system and demonstrating how olfactory receptors are encoded in the nose. After working together on the discovery of odorant receptors, the two worked in parallel in different labs in the 1990s and went on to learn how the brain organizes signals from those receptors to perceive different smells. They discovered that a family of about 1,000 genes, representing 3% of the human genome, is responsible for how humans recognize and remember some 10,000 different odors. Their work was the first successful attempt to decipher a sensory system using molecular techniques and, in shedding light on how humans process input from the external world, it contributed to a better understanding of how the brain works.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Richard Axel from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Biochemistry: Biographies


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring