University of Hertfordshire

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The Odor2Action network is a global consortium of 16 partners whose common aim is to discover and understand the principles of olfactory-guided behavior in natural environments.

We seek to understand a fundamental problem in neuroscience—how natural stimuli are used by animal brains to generate adaptive natural behaviors. We approach this problem in the context of olfactory-guided behavior as an instance of a more general problem of many complex brain systems—how are high-dimensional, discrete, and combinatorial variables that are not simply ordered along easily discernible axes represented in brain circuits and mapped to actions? The compact olfactory circuit architecture offers unique opportunities to achieve an end-to-end understanding of the core computational logic by which brains organize and read out such high-dimensional, discrete variables to generate adaptive behaviors. We will study olfactory systems of mammals and insects, which have independently evolved common structural elements at successive levels of olfactory processing in their central nervous systems. These common elements may reflect convergent evolution towards a set of similar solutions to shared olfactory problems. The network is comprised of three interdisciplinary research groups that are designed around specific elements of an end-to-end investigation of olfaction. They encompass studies of encoding natural stimuli, the natural behaviors that they give rise to, and active search strategies animals use as they encounter stimulus dynamics in natural environments. We integrate theory and experimental approaches in several species in ways that produce complementary, synergistic interactions across levels of biological analysis.
Short titleOdor2Action

Research outputs

ID: 22468614