My research focuses on understanding the basic principles of neural encoding of sensory information and how attention and learning can affect this process. Specifically, my lab studies how simple forms of learning enhance neuronal sensory processing in the early stages of the olfactory system and lead to changes in perception. Our current work focuses on the olfactory bulb, where odors are represented as topographical maps of olfactory sensory neuron input. This input can be modulated by both local intrinsic circuits within the bulb as well as by centrifugal input from several learning-related regions of the brain that project into the olfactory bulb. Using in vivo imaging in mice expressing transgenic indicators of neuronal activity, we are investigating how these circuits are involved in driving learning-induced changes in glomerular processing.
Keywords: Neural encoding, Sensory information, Olfactory bulb, Optical imaging methods