Bill S. Hansson - Biography#


CV(info) (July 2013)

Bill S Hansson is one of the foremost specialists in insect behavioral neurobiology, i.e. neuroethology. His main area of interest has always been the insect sense of olfaction; its function, anatomy and evolution, and how it underlies the amazing repertoire of odor-dependent behavior displayed.

In his earliest work Hansson dissected the insect peripheral olfactory system. Having concluded his PhD work Hansson went for a postdoc period in the laboratory of John Hildebrand in Tucson, Arizona. There he learned to work with intracellular methods in the central nervous system of insects.

After returning to Sweden Hansson started a research group continuing this line of research. Hansson could in a seminal paper1 for the first time show that OSNs of the same physiological specificity target the same glomerulus in primary olfactory centers.

During the coming 10 years Hansson worked on establishing a group in olfactory neuroethology at Lund University in Sweden. In the mid 1990’s Hansson was the first to develop imaging of calcium dynamics in the moth brain in a collaborative project with a group in Berlin. By using imaging he could reveal the topographical activity patterns elicited in the antennal lobe by different odor stimuli.

In 2001 Hansson was recruited as full professor and head of division to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). At this time Hansson decided to include the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model animal in his experimental toolbox. He ventured more and more into molecular techniques to study olfactory receptor proteins and their underlying genetic code.

In 2006 Hansson attracted a major, ten year grant of one million euros per year to study modulation in the insect olfactory system at different time scales: Insect chemical ecology, ethology and evolution. At the same time Hansson got the call for a Max Planck directorship at the Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. Here he was provided with ample resources to set up a research department in evolutionary neuroethology presently encompassing ca. 60 collaborators. He chose two main experimental animals; the fruit fly and the hawk moth. Beyond these he also continued his comparative studies to elucidate the evolution of arthropod olfaction. His studies have resulted in more than 200 publications, out of which a number are published in high ranking journals.
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