From movement to sensing: Active Smelling
Compared to touch or vision, olfaction has long been seen as a passive sense. However, throughout the animal kingdom self-generated movement (e.g., sniffing, antenna movement, flight maneuvers) are used to bring new odorants to the olfactory organs. Using computer vision and electrophysiology we study the mechanisms by which insects sample their olfactory environment and make movement decisions.
Pequeno-Zurro A et al., 2018: Modeling active antennal movements of the American cockroach: towards biorobotic models of active sensing.
From smelling to movement: Olfactory coding and odour-driven movement decisions
We are interested in the neural representation and translation of odours to behavioural decisions in locusts and cockroaches. Using calcium imaging, intra- and extra- cellular recordings we are studying the neural representations of ecologically relevant olfactory signals in the primary olfactory centre - the antennal lobe as well as their translation into pre-motor commands.
Collective movement in locust swarms
Group behaviour result from interdependent feedback processes: individuals both influence, and are influenced by, one another. We are interested in how individual movement decisions affect group dynamics as well as how the group affects individual actions. Focusing on odour-driven behaviour, we are studying how social cues influence individual perceptual decisions in cockroaches and swarm-forming locusts.