The senses provide a faithful internal representation of the external world. Dr. Ryba is interested in basic questions of sensory perception and has focused on the chemical senses, particularly taste, as a powerful platform to explore how sensory signals are detected and distinguished. For the past 20 years, in a collaborative research effort with Charles Zuker (of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Columbia University), Dr. Ryba and his colleagues have identified the taste receptors for sweet, bitter, salty, and savory stimuli and exposed the logic of coding for all five distinct taste qualities at the level of the tongue. The group also explores how taste information is represented and encoded in the brain to help explain how this hardwired chemosensory modality triggers innate responses and behaviors.
Dr. Nicholas Ryba received his degrees in biochemistry (BA and DPhil) Oxford University, UK. He completed postdoctoral training at the Max-Planck-Institut-für-biophysikalishe-Chemie in Göttingen, Germany, and the University of Leeds, UK, working on the biophysics and molecular biology of vision. In 1991, Dr. Ryba joined NIDCR to establish an independent group studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the perception of taste and smell. Dr. Ryba’s section focuses primarily on understanding the biology of taste, but has recently started to work on other aspects of sensory biology including mechanisms involved in pain.
- Peng Y, Gillis-Smith S, Jin H, Tränkner D, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. Sweet and bitter taste in the brain of awake behaving animals. Nature. 2015 Nov 26;527(7579):512-515.
- Barretto RP, Gillis-Smith S, Chandrashekar J, Yarmolinsky DA, Schnitzer MJ, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. The neural representation of taste quality at the periphery. Nature. 2015 Jan 15;517(7534): 373-6.
- Chen X, Gabitto M, Peng Y, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain. Science. 2011 Sep 2;333(6047):1262-6.
- Nguyen MQ, Marks CA, Belluscio L, Ryba NJ. Early expression of odorant receptors distorts the olfactory circuitry. J Neurosci. 2010 Jul 7;30(27):9271-9.
- Nguyen MQ, Zhou Z, Marks CA, Ryba NJ, Belluscio, L. Prominent roles for odorant receptor coding sequences in allelic exclusion. Cell. 2007 Nov 30:131(5):1009-17.
- Chandrashekar J, Hoon MA, Ryba NJP, Zuker CS. The receptors and cells for mammalian taste. Nature. 2006 Nov 16; 444(7117):288-94.
- Nelson G, Hoon MA, Chandrashekar J, Zhang Y, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. Mammalian sweet taste receptors. Cell.2001 Aug 10;106(3):381-90.
- Chandrashekar J, Mueller KL, Hoon MA, Adler E, Feng L, Guo W, Zuker CS, Ryba NJ. T2Rs function as bitter taste receptors. Cell. 2000 Mar 17;100(6):703-11.
- Adler E, Hoon MA, Mueller KL, Chandrashekar J, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. A novel family of mammalian taste receptors. Cell. 2000 Mar 17;100(6):693-702.
- Hoon MA, Adler E, Lindemeier J, Battey JF, Ryba NJ, Zuker CS. Putative mammalian taste receptors: a class of taste-specific GPCRs with distinct topographic selectivity. Cell. 1999 Feb 19; 96(4): 541-51.