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Navigational Algorithms and Neural Circuit Computations Directing Olfactory Search Across Species

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Navigational Algorithms and Neural Circuit Computations Directing Olfactory Search Across Species

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March 26 - 29, 2023
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Olfactory navigation is required for the survival of virtually all living creatures from unicellular organisms to mammals. This conference will focus on olfaction and spatial orientation as a unifying theme across organisms with different viewpoints: mechanistic, computational and evolutionary. We will examine how model organisms, with distinct sensory capabilities and constraints have evolved to solve this problem. From a comparative perspective, we will seek to extract fundamental principles related to the detection of (noisy) sensory stimuli and its conversion into goal-directed responses. We will also examine the modulatory effects of internal states and learning on sensorimotor control. We anticipate that control mechanisms directing orientation will be relevant to the study of sensory systems other than olfaction. Such mechanisms should also represent a source of inspiration to engineer new technologies.

The conference will tackle three challenges. The first pertains to neural mechanisms that underlie specific sensorimotor functions (filtering of noise, decision-making, etc.). Moving down from sensors to control circuits, we will discuss our understanding of the emergence of action selection from the activity of neural circuits. The second challenge will be more technical. Recently significant technological progresses have been made by mapping neural circuits in connectivity diagrams, by monitoring and perturbing neuronal activity in behaving animals. We will evaluate how these methods can be combined with mathematical modeling to test and to refine mechanistic hypothesis about elementary sensorimotor functions carried out by neural-circuit motifs. Finally, we will leverage a comparative analysis across model organisms to extract computational principles common to the biological implementations of adaptive navigational algorithms.

Applications are closed.


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Matthieu Louis, University of California, Santa Barbara
Katherine Nagel, New York University
Matt Smear, University of Oregon
Glenn Turner, Janelia Research Campus/HHMI  

Invited Participants

Vikas Bhandawat, Drexel University
Karen David, NIH/BRAIN Initiative
Michael Dickinson, California Institute of Technology    
Thierry Emonet, Yale University
Adrienne Fairhall, University of Washington
Anna Gagliardo, University of Pisa
Dana Galili, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge
Jay Gottfried, University of Pennsylvania
Ilona Grunwald Kadow, MPI Neurobiology & Technical University of Munich
Michael Hendricks, McGill University
Betty Hong, California Institute of Technology    
Pablo Iglesias, Johns Hopkins University
Shawn Lockery, University of Oregon
Venkatesh Murthy, Harvard University
Gabrielle Nevitt, University of California, Davis
Orit Peleg, University of Colorado Boulder
Cindy Poo, Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme
Lucia Prieto-Godino, The Francis Crick Institute
Gautam Reddy, Harvard University
Jeff Riffell, University of Washington
Lisa Roux, University of Bordeaux
Vanessa Ruta, HHMI/Rockefeller University
Aravinthan Samuel, Harvard University
Agnese Seminara, University of Genoa
Noam Sobel, Weizmann Institute of Science
Lisa Stowers, Scripps Research Institute
Floris van Breugel, University of Nevada, Reno
Jonathan Victor, Cornell University
Donald Webster, Georgia Institute of Technology
Mark Willis, Case Western Reserve University
Mei Zhen, University of Toronto