Sensory-motor integration in the flight control system of flies

Summary

Date: 
December 15, 2016 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: 
Northwest B103
About the Speaker
Name: 
Michael Dickinson
Speaker Affiliation: 
Caltech

Abstract:
To generate complex behaviors, such as searching for food or mates, animals must transform sensory information into a set of motor commands that modify behavioral output on a moment-by-moment basis.  Inspired by pioneering work in Germany in the 1960s, my laboratory has used the flight behavior of the fruit fly, Drosophila, as a model system for studying sensory-motor integration. The advent of molecular techniques, particularly those that permit electrophysiology and imaging in intact animals, have recently made it possible to identify the cellular mechanisms that underlie flight behaviors that heretofore have only been studied using psychophysical approaches. In my talk, I will provide an overview of new experiments aimed at tracking the flow of information from the sensory periphery to the motor periphery during flight. In particular, I will discuss how flies employ and implement the control theoretic concept of integral feedback to compensate for perturbations such as wing damage.