Area of expertise: Biology
Major contributions: Linda Brown Buck, together with Richard Axel, made significant studies on olfactory receptors. She mapped the olfactory processes at the molecular level. This includes tracing the journey of odors from the cells of the nose to the brain. She published her findings on the organization of various odor receptors in the nose.
- 1992 – Takasago Award
- 1996 – Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award
- 2003 – Gairdner Foundation International Award
- 2004 – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Shared with Richard Axel)
- 2015 – ForMemRS
Linda Brown Buck is a pioneering neuroscientist and Nobel laureate who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the human sense of smell. Born in 1947, Buck received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington and later earned her PhD in physiology from the University of Maryland.
Throughout her career, Buck has focused on studying the neural basis of olfaction, or the sense of smell. She has made numerous discoveries about how the brain processes and interprets smells and how this information is used to guide behavior. In 1991, Buck and her colleague Richard Axel published a paper in which they described a family of genes that encode for receptors in the nose that are responsible for detecting specific smells. This discovery revolutionized our understanding of the sense of smell and laid the foundation for future research in the field.
In 2004, Buck and Axel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the sense of smell. They were the first female-male duo to receive the award and Buck was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 15 years.
In addition to her research, Buck has also been an influential mentor and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the scientific community. She has served as a role model for aspiring scientists and has worked to promote the participation of women and underrepresented groups in science.
Buck’s contributions to the field of neurobiology have had a profound impact on our understanding of the human sense of smell and its role in guiding behavior. Her dedication to scientific research and her advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the scientific community have inspired countless others to pursue careers in science and work to advance our understanding of the world.