Context-dependent processing of olfactory information in Drosophila

Summary

Date: 
November 14, 2017 - 12:00pm
Location: 
Northwest Building, Room 243
About the Speaker
Name: 
Jing Wang
Speaker Title: 
Professor
Speaker Affiliation: 
UCSD

The research program of my laboratory is to understand how sensory information is represented and processed in the complex neural network to generate behavioral responses. Although many animals have a large behavioral repertoire, they usually exhibit one behavior at a time. For example, when animals are hungry, they seek food rather mating partners. How does a hunger state bias the behavioral choice of food over sex? Our central hypothesis is that motivational state determines which sensory information is processed. In published and unpublished studies, we discovered a constellation of neuropeptides that modulate the olfactory circuit, from peripheral sensory neurons to higher brain centers, by which starvation makes food information more salient and pheromone information obscured. And this selective information processing ensures that animals display one behavior at a time.