Linda Buck, a member of the basic sciences division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is co-recipient of the third annual Perl/University of North Carolina Neuroscience Prize. Buck, who is also a UW affiliate professor of physiology and biophysics and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and Richard Axel, professor at Columbia University and HHMI investigator, will receive the award for their discovery of the family of olfactory receptor proteins.
In 1991, the discovered how humans and other animals can detect thousands of different odor molecules. It also laid the foundation for molecular genetic studies of smell. These studies are providing insight into how the nervous system translates olfactory sensations into odor perceptions and emotional responses.
Buck earlier discovered the genes containing the blueprints for olfactory receptors, work she began while a postdoctoral fellow in Axel's laboratory at Columbia. Buck received an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She did postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Columbia University.
The $10,000 award will be presented at the University of North Carolina on May 2.