A Computational Model of Sensory Integration in the Insect Antennal Lobe

The overall aim of this project is to investigate via computational modeling the neural basis for multisensory integration within the insect antennal lobe (AL). The insect AL lies near the sensory periphery of the insect olfactory system and is well known to be the first brain region to substantially process odor information. Recent studies show that the AL not only responds to odor information encoded by airborne chemicals, but also to mechanosensory information in the form of wind speed and pressure. This phenomenon, as of yet, has received little attention. The relatively simplistic architecture of the insect AL makes it an excellent model for studying sensory integration, as well as for investigating plausible network mechanisms underlying the phenomenon. Finally, the anatomy and physiology of the insect AL is analogous to that of the olfactory bulb in mammals, and therefore findings may provide insight into mechanisms of sensory integration in a wide range of species.

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