Professor McIntyre Interview
By: Natalie Martinez
NM: Hello Dr. McIntyre, so nice to have you here today. So, when did you begin working for the Center?
JM: I began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience with the Center in November of 2015.
NM: When did you become interested in olfaction?
JM: I actually started working in olfaction, it probably goes back to 1999, as an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University with Paul Moore studying chemical ecology in crayfish.
NM: Can you walk me through the research that you are currently working on?
JM: Current research that we have is a couple different projects. One of them is some work that’s based off my postdoctorate work where we’re looking at gene therapy for congenital anosmias and we’re focused on being able to restore ion channel function olfactory sensory neurons in the nose. Hopefully in order to restore olfactory function. Currently we’re using mouse models but ideally this would be something that can be beneficial to patients with disorders in these proteins. My lab is also focused on studying nueromodulation in the olfactory bulbar, how hormones can influence olfactory perception. We’re looking at specific signaling pathways through structures that stick off of the neurons called cilia.
NM: With that research, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
JM: For me, right now biggest challenges are primarily just getting my lab up and running. Getting students to come join the lab and now that we’re going, things are starting to move along. We’ve had a lot of fun generating the house models that we need to use. So that’s sort of been the slow buildup to this and just getting everything in place to get going.
NM: What would you say is your favorite part about the research?
JM: I think it’s just seeing new things and investigating questions and biological mechanisms that haven’t been addressed before. We are making new discoveries and getting exciting results is probably the most fun.
NM: What goal(s) do you hope to achieve with this research?
JM: What we hope to achieve is to show that there are some neuromodulation signaling pathways that have not been identified and that these pathways are allowing hormones from other regions of the brain to influence neuronal function in the olfactory bulb that can change how we perceive an odor cue depending on our physiological state. So, how hungry or full we are might impact how we perceive an order. I think that’s ultimately the end-goal to try and show that. Long term, we want to be able to really delve into these processes and expand them to other neurological processes.
NM: Thank you for your time!