olfaction

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Tag archives for olfaction

Chemical Cartography

Everything has a unique chemical signature. Every body, every place. When you smell home you’re sensing all the chemical traces that make up the place you grew up. When you smell your mate, you’re smelling the unique combination of their body and the microbiome of their skin. The unique smell of a city is something…

So I was browsing the internet for info on G-protein coupled receptors and ended up finding some interesting facts about sperm. It turns out sperm don’t just swim blindly, hoping to randomly bump into eggs. Instead, like bacteria, sperm can sense their chemical environment and adjust their swimming accordingly. Sperm have a sense of smell.…

Wireless Cellular Communication

Cells are constantly jibber jabbering, sending messages to each other to coordinate behavior, both within a population of single-celled organisms or between cells of an individual multicellular organism. Most of these signals are chemicals that float around in the liquid that surrounds the cells but there recently has been an increased appreciation for cells’ sense…

Cyborg Noses

A lot of synthetic biology is about getting biology to be more like electrical engineering, designing genetic “logic gates” to create a living circuit board. Beyond analogies, however, cells have many fascinating electrical properties–proteins that transfer electrons like wires, membranes that separate ions and create an electrical charge that drives the metabolism of the cell,…

Smellscape

My Synthetic Aesthetics partner, Sissel Tolaas, is featured in the terrific current issue of the German interview magazine mono.kultur. Her work focuses on smell, exploring the unique smellscapes of different cities, creating provocative scents to show in art galleries, branded “logo” scents for Adidas, “Swedish” scents for Ikea, and therapeutic memory-triggering scents, part of the…