Richard Axel's laboratory studies how sensory information is represented in the brain. Olfactory sensory neurons expressing a given receptor project to spatially invariant loci in the brain to create a topographic map of olfactory information. His studies suggest a mechanism by which this sensory map may be translated in higher brain centers to allow for the discrimination of odors and appropriate behavioral responses.
Richard Axel received his degree from Columbia College and his MD degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He then held fellowships in the Columbia University Institute of Cancer Research and at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Axel is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his many honors are the Eli Lilly Award in biological chemistry, the Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for distinguished achievement in neuroscience research.