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Graeme Lowe


Associate Member Emeritus, Monell Chemical Senses Center


Ph.D., Physics; California Institute of Technology

Research Summary

The overall goal of my research is to determine the cellular mechanisms important for the coding and processing of olfactory information in the nervous system. In the nose, olfactory receptors detect volatile chemicals and transmit messages to the brain encoded as dynamic patterns of electrical activity. These patterns are mapped to the olfactory bulb where they are filtered and transformed by multiple layers of neuronal circuits. My laboratory is studying how sensory signals are processed and reshaped by intricate networks of synaptic relays in the olfactory bulb. We apply a variety of electrophysiological and optical techniques in vitro and in vivo, to probe functions of olfactory circuits in both wild-type and transgenic mice. This research will yield deeper insights into how we detect and perceive odors. It also has broad significance for understanding how neurons are wired together to solve specific computational problems. Reverse engineering of biological olfactory systems may inspire novel designs in the development of artificial chemical sensors.

Detailed description of research program


olfaction, electrophysiology, optical imaging, olfactory bulb, synaptic, action potential, neurophysiology, neurotransmitter, neuromodulation, calcium imaging

Recent Publications

Mainland, J.D.; Lundstrom, J.N.; Reisert, J.; Lowe, G. (2014) From Molecule to Mind: an Integrative Perspective on Odor Intensity. Trends in Neuroscience, 1062, 1-12.

Cruz, G.; Lowe, G. (2013) Neural coding of binary mixtures in a structurally related odorant pair. Scientific Reports, 3, 1220, 1–11.

Furudono, Y.; Cruz, G.; Lowe, G. (2013) Glomerular input patterns in the mouse olfactory bulb evoked by retronasal odor stimuli. BMC Neuroscience, 14. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-14-45

Ma, J.; Dankulich-Nagrudny, L.; Lowe, G. (2013) Cholecystokinin: An excitatory modulator of mitral/tufted cells in the mouse olfactory bulb. PLoS ONE 8(5): e64170. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064170

Lowe, G. (2013) Olfactory bulb: Synaptic organization. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020289.pub2

Lowe, G. (2012) Introduction to Olfaction – Physiology. In: Nakamoto, T. (Ed.) Human Olfactory Displays and Interfaces: Odor Sensing and Presentation. IGI Global, 1–43.

McQuade, L.E.; Ma, J.; Lowe, G.; Ghatpande, A; Gelperin. A; Lippard, S.J. (2010) Visualization of nitric oxide production in the mouse main olfactory bulb by a cell–trappable copper(II) fluorescent probe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 8525–8530.

Ma, J.; Lowe, G. (2010) Correlated firing in tufted cells of mouse olfactory bulb. Neuroscience, 169, 1715-1738.

Lowe, G. (2009) Slice Blotting. In: Kurien, B.T.; Scofield, R.H. (Eds.) Western Blotting. Methods of Molecular Biology. The Humana Press, Inc., 67–74.

Lowe, G.; Buerk, D.G.; Ma, J.; Gelperin, A. (2008) Tonic and stimulus-evoked nitric oxide production in the mouse olfactory bulb. Neuroscience, 153, 842-850.

Ma, J.; Lowe, G. (2007) Calcium permeable AMPA receptors and autoreceptors in external tufted cells of rat olfactory bulb. Neuroscience, 144, 1094-1108.

Ma, J.; Lowe, G. (2004) Action potential backpropagation and multiglomerular signaling in the rat vomeronasal system. Neuroscience, 24, 9341-9352.

Lowe, G. (2003) Electrical Signaling in the Olfactory Bulb. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 13, 476–481.

Lowe, G. (2003) Flash photolysis reveals a diversity of ionotropic glutamate receptors on the mitral cell somatodendritic membrane. Journal of Neurophysiology, 90, 1737–1746.