Our laboratory, led by Linda Buck, Ph.D., is investigating the mechanisms that underlie the sense of smell and pheromone sensing in mammals. One major question is how humans and other mammals detect as many as 10,000 or more chemicals in the external environment. Another is how the brain translates those chemicals into different smells, such as rose or garlic. A third is how pheromones and other social cues elicit hormonal changes and instinctive behaviors in animals. Illumination of the neural circuits underlying these effects may ultimately provide clues to molecular mechanisms that influence basic drives and emotional states in humans. Our recent work has also touched on aging, particularly the identification of drugs that might delay the onset of age-associated disease.