Joel D. Mainland, PhD

faculty photo
Adjunct Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Department: Neuroscience
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Monell Chemical Senses Center
3500 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Bachelor (Neuroscience)
Columbia University, 2001.
PhD (Neuroscience)
University of California at Berkeley, 2006.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests

Develop a predictive model relating molecular structure and olfactory perception using a combined psychophysical and molecular approach.


olfactory receptor, psychophysics, coding, cell culture, human

Research Details

A fundamental problem in neuroscience is mapping the physical properties of a stimulus to perceptual characteristics. In vision, wavelength translates into color; in audition, frequency translates into pitch. By contrast, the mapping from chemical structure to olfactory percept is unknown. In other words, there is not a scientist or perfumer in the world who can view a novel molecular structure and predict how it will smell. My research goal is to develop a predictive model relating molecular structure and olfactory perception using a combined psychophysical and molecular approach.

Selected Publications

Mainland JD, Matsunami H. : RAMP-like proteins: RTP and REEP family of proteins. Receptor Activity Modifying Proteins. Spielman W and Parameswaran N, ed (eds.). Feb 2012.

Mainland Joel D, Matsunami Hiroaki: Taste perception: how sweet it is (to be transcribed by you). Current Biology 19(15): R655-6, Aug 2009.

Matsunami H, Mainland JD, Dey S: Trafficking of mammalian chemosensory receptors by receptor-transporting proteins. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1170: 153-6, Jul 2009.

Saito Harumi, Chi Qiuyi, Zhuang Hanyi, Matsunami Hiroaki, Mainland Joel D: Odor coding by a Mammalian receptor repertoire. Science signaling 2(60): ra9, Mar 2009.

Mainland JD, Sobel N: The sniff is part of the olfactory percept. Chemical Senses 31(2): 181-96, Feb 2006.

Mainland JD, Johnson BN, Khan R, Ivry RB, Sobel N: Olfactory impairments in patients with unilateral cerebellar lesions are selective to inputs from the contralesional nostril. The Journal of Neuroscience 25(27): 6362-71, Jul 2005.

Zelano C, Bensafi M, Porter J, Mainland J, Johnson B, Bremner E, Telles C, Khan R, Sobel N: Attentional modulation in human primary olfactory cortex. Nature Neuroscience 8(1): 114-20, Jan 2005.

Bensafi M, Zelano CM, Johnson BN, Mainland JD, Khan R, Sobel N: Olfaction: From Sniff to Percept. The Cognitive Neurosciences, 3rd Edition Gazzaniga MS, ed (eds.). Camridge, MA: MIT Press, Page: 259-280, 2004.

Bensafi M, Brown WM, Tsutsui T, Mainland JD, Johnson BN, Bremner EA, Young N, Mauss I, Ray B, Gross J, Richards J, Stappen I, Levenson RW, Sobel N: Sex-steroid derived compounds induce sex-specific effects on autonomic nervous system function in humans. Behavioral Neuroscience 117(6): 1125-34, Dec 2003.

Bensafi M, Porter J, Pouliot S, Mainland J, Johnson B, Zelano C, Young N, Bremner E, Aframian D, Khan R, Sobel N: Olfactomotor activity during imagery mimics that during perception. Nature Neuroscience 6(11): 1142-4, Nov 2003.

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Last updated: 08/24/2020
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