Welcome to the Yu Lab! Our research focuses on wide-ranging aspects of the mammalian main olfactory and vomeronasal systems - from the critical period and molecular mechanisms underpining the development of the olfactory map to the circuitry involved in perception and processing of pheromone- and odor-evoked signals and behaviors.
June 7, 2021 - The Lab welcomes Stowers Scholars. Brenda Sanchez, a Research Scholar with the postbac program. Brenda joins us from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Minors in Chemistry & Neuroscience. Melina Peshoff, a sophomore from Case Western Reserve University, James Galbraith, a sophomore from Lafayette College, and Aviral Misra, a freshman from Columbia University, join as Summer Scholars.
Feb 12, 2021 - Congratulations to Rishabh Raj, who is now officially Dr. Raj! He successfully defended his thesis on June 12th, 2020,with the Open University.
January 11, 2021 - Wenjing is now Dr. Xu. She successfully defended her thesis on June 12th, 2020, with the Open University. Congratulations!
The olfactory system is the only nervous system in mammals that regenerates throughout the lifespan of an animal. We are unraveling mechanisms that control the development and regeneration of olfactory sensory neurons, which may hold the key to the understanding of neurodegeneration and neural regeneration.
Mechanisms of Olfactory Imprinting During Development
Early experiences in childhood have a profound impact on how one understands the world and responds to the environment. We use the mouse olfactory system to study the molecular and cellular changes associated with odor imprinting, a process in which during a critical period of early postnatal development odor exposure can alter how the odors are perceived later in life.
Mechanisms of Pheromone Control of Reproductive Behaviors
Pheromones controls sexual and social behaviors without conscious perception. We use molecular genetics to delineate the neural circuits that detect and transmit pheromone information to elicit reproductive behaviors.
Olfactory Learning and Perception
Some odors carry intrinsic “values” to evoke pleasant or foul sensations, while others are unrecognized until they are associated with daily experiences. We are discerning the neural mechanism of how odors can be innately encoded but also be learned.