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NYU School of Medicine presents biomedical researchers Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Awards
Date:3/22/2010

dioxide, thereby enabling disease-bearing mosquitoes to seek their host. Sure enough, DEET - the universal insect repellent - works by blocking signaling via similar such co-receptors. Dr. Vosshall has recently expanded the focus of the group into mosquito biology in an effort to study which sensory cues guide human host-seeking behavior and what internal signals modulate blood-feeding. Her target-based approach is developing new candidate insect repellents that may provide solutions to public health problems caused by mosquitoes. After documenting that olfaction is crucial for the Darwinian survival of insects, she asked if there were genetic differences in human sensory perception. Unlike flies, humans can tell scientists what they smell. Using psychophysical experiments in an out-patient setting in The Rockefeller University Hospital, she was able to show that genetic variation in one human odorant receptor is a major determinant of how humans perceive androstenone, an odorous derivative of testosterone: Blanche DuBois meets Stanley Kowalski. One might also call this a device of nature to sniff out nurture.

Dr. Vosshall is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a recipient of awards from the John Merck, Beckman, and McKnight Foundations. She received the 2002 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a 2005 New York City Mayor's Young Investigator Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, a 2007 Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, and the 2009 Lawrence C. Katz Prize from Duke University.


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Contact: Lisa Greiner
lisa.greiner@nyumc.org
212-404-3532
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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