Beyond Curie—a design project celebrating women in STEM
They changed history and the world often without recogntiion
linda_buck.png

Linda Buck

16/30

16/30

Linda B. Buck is an American biologist known for her work on the olfactory system. In 1980, Linda began her post-doctoral research at Columbia University where she set out to map out how pheromones and odors are detected in the nose and interpreted by the brain. Her landmark paper published in 1991 described how hundreds of genes code for the odorant sensors located in the olfactory neurons of our noses. Each receptor is a protein that changes when an odor attaches to the receptor, causing a signal to be sent to the brain. By analyzing rat DNA, she was able to estimate that there are about 1000 different genes for olfactory receptors in the mammalian genome. Remarkably, each olfactory neuron only expresses one kind of olfactory receptor protein, and the input from neurons expressing the same receptor is collected by a single dedicated glomerulus, a spherical structure in the olfactory bulb that shuttles the signal to the rain. She won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004 for her work on olfactory receptors. Her work has opened the doors to the genetic and molecular analysis of our sense of smell.