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The Art in Science

Product Image Tangles Olfactus

Tangles Olfactus

Jeremy McIntyre, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Martens laboratory), Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan Medical School

This image was generated from a scanning electron micrograph of the surface of the nasal cavity of a mouse. It is magnified 6,000 times.  The image shows the ultrastructure of cilia, whip-like organelles that project from olfactory neurons.  Olfactory sensory neurons are found in the nose and are necessary for the sense of smell.  The cilia that extend from each neuron are important for detecting odors in the environment.  Recent research has shown that individuals with defects in cilia are unable to smell.  Understanding how olfactory cilia function will help with the development of treatments for restoring this sense.