Dr. Josh Swore


Dr. Josh Swore

Postdoctoral Fellow

I graduated from the University of Northwestern – St. Paul in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. During my undergraduate career I participated in two NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates at the Whitney Laboratories studying the genomics of the ctenophore nervous system, specifically the vast expansion of glutamate receptors present in the genome. I also participated in the Marine Genomics course at Friday Harbor Laboratories which led me to my graduate career at the University of Washington.

As a graduate student, I studied the nervous system of the freshwater cnidarian hydra vulgaris. I used a variety of techniques like calcium imaging, bioinformatics and dual whole cell patch clamp to better understand how gap junctions coordinate the behavior of hydra. We identified five functionally expressed gap junctions in the nervous system and two distinct physiological characteristics that correlate with neural circuit expression.

As a postdoctoral scholar in the Riffell lab here at the University of Washington I continue to be interested in nervous systems but have expanded to the field of olfaction. Insects have an incredible ability to sense and distinguish low concentrations of odors present in their environment. We are using the neural and molecular machinery of manduca sexta to detect a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Conducting electroantennagramms (EAG) we measure the voltage response to numerous compounds and use the data to train machine learning algorithms in an effort to identify an odor based on the EAG profile. By classifying EAGs based on VOCs we are developing a fast and specific method to distinguish between odors which can then be scaled to disease diagnostics, chemical leaks, and beyond.

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