The importance of sniffing

Matt Wachowiak from the University of Utah’s Department of Physiology and Brain Institute will speak about Seeing what the nose tells the brain: order coding and processing in the awake animal on November 29th in the IGERT Neuroscience Seminar Series. The talk, hosted by Don Katz, will take place at 4:00 PM in Gerstenzang 121. Refreshments will be available at 3:45 PM.

This seminar will focus on understanding olfaction in the context of active sensing – in particular, on the importance of sniffing in shaping odor representations and processing. Wachowiak’s lab has found that changes in sniffing behavior can transform both temporal and identity codes for odors even at the level of sensory neurons, and that sniffing – like visual saccades – reflects directed attention towards a particular sensory target. Using a combination of awake imaging, electrophysiology, optogenetics and behavioral analyses they are investigating these bottom-up as well as top-down pathways by which sensory codes are actively shaped by the behaving animal.

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