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.

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.  

 

From walking to high-speed running: the neural basis of cockroach locomotion 

What is the role of proprioception in inter-leg coordination during walking and running: How does proprioceptive feedback affect locomotion, and how does locomotion modulate these incoming sensory signals? Using high-speed video tracking, neurophysiology and simulations we test these questions at the highest end of cockroaches’ speed range, when the ability of proprioceptive sensing to respond to perturbations within a stride is challenged.