Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Complexities of olfactory behavior and circuitry
Many mammalian species rely on the sense of smell for guiding crucial daily behaviors. Odor-guided behaviors require complex processing to enable detection and identification of important objects over rich and dynamic backgrounds as well as localizing these objects. The neural circuits that underlie these behavioral abilities are typically considered shallower and simpler than those of other sensory modalities, yet many of the olfactory brain regions are still very poorly understood. In my talk I will describe two parallel efforts in our lab that aim to deepen our understanding of olfactory behavior and circuitry. First, I will describe a project in which we used the drift-diffusion model to analyze how background odors interfere with target odor detection in a figure-background segmentation task. Second, I will describe the biophysical and synaptic properties of an under-studied olfactory cortical region – the nucleus of the lateral olfactory tract -that suggest that this is a higher-order olfactory cortical region.