Sustainability database


Prof Matthew Cobb

Professor of Zoology

My laboratory studies how the sense of smell works. To do this we use a rather unusual animal - a maggot. You and I have about 4 million smell cells in our noses. A maggot has just 21, and by using genetics we can make a maggot with just a single smell cell in its nose. By studying the behaviour of these animals, and the electrical activity of their smell cells, we can understand how smells are processed in the nose and in the brain. Not only does a maggot have a brain, the bits of its brain that process smells are wired up just like ours. So by studying something as simple as a maggot we hope to understand how the sense of smell works in all animals, including humans.

Associate Dean for External Relations in the Faculty of Life Sciences; chaird the Biodiversity working group.

Sustainability enthusiast?: 
Interdisciplinary themes: 



Computational and Evolutionary Biology

We are a department-sized grouping of researchers in Life Sciences who use a wide range of techniques from computational to whole organism experimental approaches in our pursuit of understanding biological systems. A main theme of our research is the use of an evolutionary perspective to inform and predict the behaviour of biological systems.

Biology, Environment, Biodiversity