Bozza, Thomas, PhD



Bozza, Thomas, PhD


Associate Professor


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Pancoe 2-119 Evanston


Areas of Research

Circuits and Behavior, Electrophysiology, Imaging & Microscopy, Molecular Neuroscience, Sensory Systems

NU Scholar Profile

Recent Publications on PubMed

Current Research

Current Research

My laboratory works on the genetic basis of olfactory perception in mice. The lab is currently pursuing two main interests.

First, we are studying specific genes and neural circuits that underlie odor perception (e.g. sensitivity and valence) and innate behaviors (e.g. aggression and mating) in mammals. We have identified, for the first time, single olfactory receptor genes that detect defined chemical cues that drive specific behaviors in mice (such as inter-male aggression and predator avoidance). We are using mouse genetics (CRISPR, transgenics, gene targeting), in vivo imaging, optogenetics and behavior to uncover the pathways that are engaged by these olfactory inputs, and how innate behaviors are modulated by social experience and neuroendocrine status.

Second, we are investigating the genetic mechanisms of monoallelic gene expression. Odorant receptors are subject to an unusual form of random monoallelic expression—so-called “singular” choice. Each olfactory sensory neuron in the nasal cavity chooses to express only one allele of one receptor gene, from a vast array of >2,000 alleles. We are using a combination of mouse genetics, chromosome conformation capture methods (e.g. Hi-C), single-cell transcriptomics, and gene expression analysis to reveal the molecular mechanisms controlling singular expression of olfactory receptor genes.

Overall, the lab aims to uncover genes and circuits that give rise to specific behaviors in mammals, and to elucidate how precise gene regulation defines neuronal cell types in the mammalian nervous system.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Cichy A, Shah A, Dewan A, Kaye D, and Bozza T. (2019) Genetic depletion of class I odorant receptors impacts perception of carboxylic acids. Current Biology 29(16):2687-2697

Dewan A, Cichy A, Zhang J, Miguel K, Feinstein P, Rinberg D, Bozza T. (2018) Single olfactory receptors set odor detection thresholds. Nature Communications 9(1):2887.

Dewan, A., Pacifico, R, Zhan, R., Rinberg, D. and Bozza, T. (2013) Nonredundant coding of aversive odours in the mouse olfactory system. Nature. 497, 486–489.

Smear, M, Resulaj A, Zhang, J, Bozza, T, Rinberg D. (2013) Multiple perceptible signals from a single olfactory glomerulus. Nature Neuroscience. 16(11):1687-1691.

Zhang J, Pacifico R, Cawley D, Feinstein P, Bozza T. (2013) Ultrasensitive detection of amines by a trace amine-associated receptor. The Journal of Neuroscience. 33(7):3228-3239.

Pacifico, R., Dewan, A., Cawley, D., Guo, C., and Bozza, T. (2012). An Olfactory Subsystem that Mediates High-Sensitivity Detection of Volatile Amines. Cell Reports 2(1) 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(3-4):79-88.

Smear, M., Shusterman, R., O'Connor, R., Bozza, T., and Rinberg, D. (2011). Perception of sniff phase in mouse olfaction. Nature 479, 397-400.