College Wolfson College
Research Focus


  • Adult Neurogenesis
  • Dopaminergic Heterogeneity
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine Neurons
  • Cellular Neurophysiology
  • Olfaction
  • Olfactory Bulb
  • Olfactory Transduction
  • Sensory Processing
  • Neural Circuitry
  • Equipment & Techniques

  • Whole cell patch clamp
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Science Culture

  • CamBRAIN
  • Women in Neuroscience
  • Science Communication
  • Science Writing
  • Public Outreach
  • Open Access
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    Ailie McWhinnie

    University Position
    PhD student


    I am interested in the role of dopaminergic neurons in olfactory processing. The murine olfactory bulb may not be a classical place to study dopamine, but it's an interesting one because the dopaminergic neurons here are capable of neurogenesis throughout life, continuously regenerating and functionally integrating into circuits. We have recently learned that these dopaminergic neurons are not a homogeneous group, but can be split into two subtypes. There is a classical axon-bearing group born during embryogenesis which cannot regenerate, and an axonless group which regenerates throughout life. I am comparing the roles of these two groups in olfactory processing, for now focusing on their circuitry. To do this I am combining anatomical methods (monosynaptic rabies tracing and confocal imaging) with functional methods (patch clamp electrophysiology with electrical or optogenetic stimulation) to learn which other cell types send inputs to these dopaminergic neurons, and where they send their outputs.

    Presynaptic connections of bulbar dopaminergic neurons

    Bulbar dopaminergic neurons receive presynaptic input from neurons across all layers of the olfactory bulb, reconstructed here following monosynaptic rabies tracing.

    Key Publications