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Faculty, Neuroscience


Dr. Adam Dewan


University of Hawaii, 2010

Assistant Professor

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Dr. Dewan is recruiting a graduate student for Fall of 2023

Research Interests

The laboratory is focused on the molecular and cellular basis of sensory perception. We use a combination of genetic, optogenetic, optical imaging, and behavioral techniques in mice to explore how olfactory perception is mapped and encoded within the brain.

Current Research

The olfactory system is a unique and powerful model for addressing how genetically-defined inputs to the brain contribute to stimulus perception. Nowhere in the mammalian nervous system is there a more direct relationship between single genes and sensory inputs. The response profile of each olfactory sensory neuron is determined by a single expressed olfactory receptor gene. The receptor directs axon guidance, so that axons from sensory neurons that express the same receptor converge to form spherical structures called glomeruli. Thus, the first representation of olfactory information, the map of glomeruli in the olfactory bulb, is highly amenable to genetic manipulation. Using behavioral techniques in genetically modified mice, we are currently exploring two fundamental questions related to olfactory perception:

  • What is the contribution of individual receptors to odor perception?
  • How does glomerular organization influence odor perception?

Olfactory bulb output neurons (mitral and tufted cells) receive exclusive input from a single glomerulus, and project broadly to all nine regions of the olfactory cortex. Thus, sensory input is relayed to multiple brain regions simultaneously. Using a combination of optogenetic and optical imaging techniques, we are currently exploring two fundamental questions related to higher order olfactory processing:

  • What is the contribution of individual olfactory cortical regions to odor perception?
  • How does glomerular identity and location influence odor coding in the olfactory cortex?

Selected Publications

Dewan A, Cichy A, Zhang J, Miguel K, Feinstein D, Rinberg D, Bozza T. 2018 Single olfactory receptors set odor detection thresholds. Nature Communications 9, 2887.

Dewan A, Pacifico R, Zhan R, Rinberg D, Bozza T. 2013. Non-redundant coding of aversive odours in the main olfactory pathway. Nature 497, 486-489.

Pacifico R, Dewan A, Cawley D, Guo, C, Bozza, T. 2012. An olfactory subsystem that mediates high sensitivity detection of volatile amines. Cell Reports 2, 76-88.

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


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