Olfaction: from sensation to action and back
Understanding the interplay between feedforward and feedback neuronal signals across interconnected brain areas is essential for unveiling the computations they perform. Across the brain, specialized long-range circuits support different processing streams. These broadcast information ranging from multiple features of sensory stimuli, decision variables, and inner states to substrates for planning and execution of motor actions. To date, the logic of information flow within the early mammalian olfactory system remains poorly understood. It is not known whether different projection neurons carry different signals to particular areas, and to what degree the feedback from different target brain areas to sensory periphery is specific to the input channels. We identified two parallel feedforward-feedback loops in the early olfactory system mediated by the mitral and tufted cells and their specific cortical targets, and propose they play specialized roles in odor processing.
An emerging view of brain function is that of a simulator that generates predictions of sensory inputs via internal models which map the consequences of motor actions onto sensory outcomes. In the second half of the talk, I will introduce a novel closed loop olfactory behavioral paradigm, where animals continuously refine their motor actions based on the current and desired sensory percepts, as a framework for studying the neuronal substrates of internal models in sensorimotor integration.
Dr. Florin Albeanu is an Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
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