Professor Matthew Cobb

BA, Habilitation, PhD


Photograph of Professor Matthew Cobb

Contact details:

C1260 Michael Smith Building|Oxford Road|Manchester|M13 9PT

Telephone: +44161 275 5419
Website(s): History of Science - Jan Swammerdam
Matthew Cobb's book on the history of reproduction
The scent of the maggot

Research interests

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.


Highlight publications

  • Hoare DJ, Humble J, Jin D, Gilding N, Petersen R, Cobb M, McCrohan C. (2011). Modeling peripheral olfactory coding in Drosophila larvae. PLoS ONE, 6(8), e22996. eScholarID:136784 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022996
  • Claude Everaerts, Jean-Pierre Farine, Matthew Cobb, Jean-François Ferveur. (2010). Drosophila Cuticular Hydrocarbons Revisited: Mating Status Alters Cuticular Profiles. PLoS ONE, 5(3), e9607. eScholarID:110560 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0009607
  • Patamarerk Engsontia, Alan P. Sanderson, Matthew Cobb, Kimberly K.O. Walden, Hugh M. Robertson and Stephen Brown. (2008). The red flour beetle's large nose: An expanded odorant receptor gene family in Tribolium castaneum. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 38(4), 387-397. eScholarID:1c7347 | DOI:10.1016/j.ibmb.2007.10.005
  • Hoare DJ, McCrohan CR, Cobb M. (2008). Precise and fuzzy coding by olfactory sensory neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(39), 9710-9722. eScholarID:1c7892 | DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1955-08.2008

Full list