Understanding Olfactory Circuit

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Olfaction is critical for avoiding harmful chemical environments and for maintaining one’s quality of life. Although molecular and cellular machineries of olfactory systems have been relatively well understood, logic behind the processing of odor information is still unclear. To understand the logical link of odorant molecules and odor perception, one key piece of information is how odor information is converted to neural information at the nose before being sent to the brain. In principle, such information can be studied by analyzing the odor response profiles of glomeruli at the olfactory bulb (OB), the first olfactory center that receives the sensory inputs from the nose, but technical limitations hinder the collection of response profiles at a large scale. In this project, we will develop an experimental-analytical framework to overcome these limitations so that we can obtain response profiles of glomeruli that are flexibly expandable for future additions. This framework may ultimately lead to a fully in silico expansion of response profiles, which will dramatically increase the number of odorants in such profiles.

Collaborators: Ryota Homma and Genevera Allen

Current Student Researcher: Joe Young

Funded By:

Dan L. Duncan Institute