Christopher Potter PhD

Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Center for Sensory Biology
Co-Director of the Neuroscience Training Program
Telephone Number: 443-287-4151
Fax Number: 443-287-7672

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
The Center for Sensory Biology
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine
855 North Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: 434 Rangos Building
Lab Page
Areas of Research
Systems, Cognitive + Computational Neuroscience
Neural Circuits, Ensembles + Connectomes
Cellular + Molecular Neuroscience

Graduate Program Affiliations

Neuroscience Training Program

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB)

Neural Circuits Required for Insect Olfaction

A pivotal area of neuroscience is to understand how sensory information from the external environment is received, processed, and interpreted by the brain. For example, why does an apple smell like an apple, and an orange like an orange? Why do we find the odorant vanilla pleasant, but are repelled by the odorant cadaverine?  Our ability to ‘smell’ different odors is tightly linked to our sense of odor perception. Yet little is known about how odor perception is processed in the brain.

My lab functions at an intersection between systems and cellular neuroscience. We are interested in how neurons and circuits function in the brain to achieve a common goal (olfaction), but we also develop, utilize, and build tools (molecular and genetic) that allow us to directly alter neuronal functions in a living organism. We then determine how our neuronal manipulations have altered the behavior of an animal.

The focus of my laboratory is to understand how the insect brain receives, interprets, and responds to odors. Insects rely on their sense of smell for all major life choices, from foraging to mating, from choosing where to lay eggs to avoiding predators and dangers. We are interested in understanding at the neuronal level how odors regulate these behaviors.

Our long-term aim is to apply this knowledge to better control insects that pose a threat to human health. Our general approach towards achieving this goal is to link neuron function with olfactory-guided behaviors by developing and employing new genetic methods that enable unprecedented control over neural circuits in both the model organism Drosophila melanogaster and human vector Anopheles gambiae

We are always looking for motivated graduate students, so if any of the above sounds interesting, email me to learn more about the lab.  Or visit our lab webpage.

Keywords: Mosquito olfaction, Anopheles olfaction, Insect olfaction, Q-system, QF2, Neurogenetic, Mosquito olfactory system

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