Josie Clowney, PhD
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
University of Michigan
Hacking Brain Development to test models of sensory coding
Animals can discriminate myriad sensory stimuli but can also generalize from learned experience. You can probably distinguish the favorite teas of your colleagues while still recognizing that all tea pales in comparison to coffee. Tradeoffs between detection, discrimination, and generalization are inherent at every layer of sensory processing. During development, specific quantitative parameters are wired into perceptual circuits and set the playing field on which plasticity mechanisms play out. I will discuss my lab's work to understand the development of these quantitative wiring parameters in the expansion layer of arthropods, the mushroom body. We use our knowledge of developmental wiring mechanisms to modify wiring parameters and assess the functional and behavioral consequences in odor perception and learning.
The Columbia Neuroscience Seminar series is a collaborative effort of Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and with support from the Kavli Institute for Brain Science.