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2011 AChemS Max Mozell Award Goes to NIDCD Grantee Thomas Finger


Thomas E. Finger, Ph.D.

Longtime NIDCD grantee, Thomas E. Finger, Ph.D., was awarded the Max Mozell Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Chemical Senses on April 13, 2011 at this year’s annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS) in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Dr. Finger is a professor in the department of cell and developmental biology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and
co-director of The Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center.

The Max Mozell Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Chemical Senses is intended to recognize the accomplishments of a senior scientist working in the chemical senses. The award is given in honor of Dr. Maxwell Mozell to acknowledge his many accomplishments in the field of the chemical senses—as the founder of AChemS, its first president, and his pioneering work in the development of chemosensory research.

Dr. Finger’s interest in the chemical senses had its roots in his fascination with fish. As a graduate student, he was advised that if he wanted to understand the brain of a fish he should either start with the input (sensory) or the output (motor function) and he began his work studying fish sensory systems. His initial studies of the olfactory system of catfish led to studies on the central representation of taste, which then led him to ask questions about the organization of the sensory periphery and how it transmits information to the nervous system, which were more easily investigated in transgenic mice. Currently, his work includes studying the transmission of taste information from taste buds to nerves, how a new class of solitary chemosensory cells in the respiratory tract evoke protective cough and sneeze reflexes, and the role of the medial amygdala in processing chemical cues from the main olfactory system.

To read about Dr. Finger’s recent work, go here.