A computational logic for olfaction
Sensory stimuli evoke spiking activities patterned across neurons and time that encode information about its identity. Since the same stimulus can be encountered in a multitude of ways, how stable or flexible are these stimulus-evoked responses? I will examine this issue in the locust olfactory system. I will reveal how spatial and temporal features of odor-evoked responses can vary significantly with stimulus-history. Next, I will show how these variations allow the antennal lobe circuit to enhance the contrast of the stimulus with respect to the cues previously encountered, but as a result confound the information about odorant identity. I will go on to reveal drawbacks of using conventional decoding schemes based on combinatorial and temporal properties of odor-evoked responses. Instead a linear decoding scheme involving flexible subsets of neurons to robustly recognize the odorant identity will be presented. I will conclude my talk with a brief discussion of how the tradeoff between stability vs. flexibility can be achieved in sensory coding.
Dr. Barani Raman is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.
This event is open to the public.