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September 28th, 2016
7:00-8:30 PM

Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Kirkwood, MO

Understanding—and Hijacking—the Insect's Sense of Smell

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Moderated by: Cynthia Wichelman, M.D.

What are the design and computing principles of the biological olfactory system? Using locusts and fruit flies as model systems, we will discuss how odorants evoke dynamic patterns of neural responses in the insect brain that allow odor recognition in an invariant fashion. Our current understanding of the biological solution for dealing with variation arising due to external parameters (intensity, changes in humidity) and internal parameters (plasticity, hysteresis) will be explained. We will also look into how, in addition to its chemosensory function, the olfactory system could serve as an early warning sensory modality that conveys information about potential environmental threats. We will conclude with discussion of our recent work in hijacking the insect sense of smell to solve parallel engineering problems.

Science On Tap highlighted on St. Louis Public Radio and Voice of America!

Science On Tap is a place where, for the price of a beverage, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place outside a traditional academic context, at the Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co.

Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month during the academic year, usually from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. The standard format is as follows: about 45 minutes of presentation, followed by discussion until 8:30 PM.

Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co.
105 E. Jefferson Ave.
Kirkwood, MO 63122

Register to receive e-mail announcements of future Science On Tap events.

Interested in learning about medicine? Check out Washington University's Mini-Medical School!

For more information: e-mail scienceontap@wustl.edu
or call (314) 935-9495

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