Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Theoretical models of olfactory discrimination in Drosophila
by Luo, Sean Xiao, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009, 188; 3393601
Abstract (Summary)

When an animal is confronted with a sensory stimulus, it can either recognize the stimulus as innately meaningful, or form and recall learned associations. The distinction at the level of neural circuity between what is innate and what is acquired is a mystery. In this study, we present computational models of the Drosophila olfactory system where distinct circuit architecture enables the fly to both process odors that are intrinsically important: food, sex and danger, as well as odors for which a learned avoidance can be formed through classical conditioning. We postulate that neurons that process innately important odors receive odor-specific connectivity while neurons that allow for associative learning receive non-odor-specific connectivity. We deduce that these two types of connectivity patterns are actualized in two higher order areas in the fly brain: the lateral horn of the protocerebrum and the mushroom body. Simulations show that the transformation in neural code in the antennal lobe is essential for good performance for both innate and learned odor discrimination. Our models thereby reveals a novel computational principle, representational compression, that explains the functional role of the antennal lobe.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Neurosciences
Keywords: Olfaction, Olfactory discrimination
Publication Number: 3393601
ISBN: 978-1-109-60476-4
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