Matt Smear (University of Oregon), the December 2016 UWIN seminar speakerThe December 2016 UWIN seminar features a talk by visiting speaker Matt Smear from the University of Oregon’s Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience.

His talk is entitled: “Concentration change detectors in the olfactory bulb”

The seminar is on Wednesday, December 14th, at 3:30pm in Health Sciences Building G-328.  Refreshments will be served prior to the talk across the hall in room G-317.  Click here for a map of the Health Sciences Building.

Abstract: Brains operate in dynamic environments. Sensory systems prioritize stimulus changes, as evidenced by the many neuronal mechanisms devoted to comparing sensory inputs across time. My lab has been studying an ethologically relevant form of delayed comparison: detection of odor concentration changes across sequential sniffs (hereafter called ΔCt). Rodents use ΔCt as a guidance cue during olfactory navigation, a behavior that is crucial to their livelihood. To study ΔCt processing, we have developed an odor stimulation system which can change odor concentration with unprecedented speed. Combining this system with electrophysiological recordings in awake head-fixed mice, we have discovered that a subset of neurons in the olfactory bulb are ΔCt sensitive – they strongly modulate their firing rate when odor concentration changes. By studying this system, we hope to uncover fundamental principles underlying our ability to follow along as the external world changes.