IISER Pune
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (IISER) PUNE
where tomorrow’s science begins today
An Autonomous Institution, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India
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Seminars and Colloquia

Biology

Inspiration from a tiny mind: Neural and behavioural mechanisms underlying collision detection and avoidance in an insect 
 
Fri, Mar 23, 2018,   04:00 PM to 05:00 PM at Seminar Room 34, 2nd Floor, Main Building

Prof. Jack Gray
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Insects are one of nature’s ideal systems for understanding principles of how animals sense and interact with their environment. They possess tractable nervous systems that evoke and control robust, predictable behaviours. Using traditional and advanced recording techniques, researchers can address fundamental questions regarding sensory processing and coordination of motor outputs that underlie adaptive behaviours. Two well-studied neurons in the locust visual system, the Lobula Giant Movement Detector (LGMD) and its postsynaptic partner, the Descending Contralateral Movement Detector (DCMD) respond robustly to complex visual motion and have been implicated in controlling flight steering. I will describe ongoing work from my lab that investigates how this pathway responds to visual object motion. My group has recently found that impairment of motion detection and avoidance behaviour following treatment with a neonicotinoid pesticide provides further insights into the role of the DCMD pathway in evoking escapes. While the previous experiments provide information on fundamental properties of the neural control of natural animal behaviour, they also provide insights into biologically-inspired algorithms that can be adopted for controlling autonomous artificial systems.

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