Richard Benton grew up in Scotland, trained in genetics, developmental cell biology and neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and The Rockefeller University, New York, before establishing his own laboratory in 2007 at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
He has pioneered studies of olfaction in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and other insects. His group has made important discoveries of the mechanisms by which environmental chemicals are detected in the nose and processed in the brain to trigger behaviour, and also how olfactory neural circuits are modified during evolution as species adapt to different ecological niches. His work provides insights into how nervous systems develop, function and evolve, as well as offering opportunities to devise new strategies to control the odour-guided behaviours of insects harmful to human health.
Richard is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation and been awarded the Eppendorf and Science Prize for Neurobiology, the Friedrich Miescher Award from the Swiss Society for Biochemistry, the Association for Chemoreception Sciences Young Investigator Award for Research in Olfaction, the Swiss National Science Foundation National Latsis Prize and the EMBO Gold Medal.