team-logoTo crack the olfactory code, our team will focus on how odors move in landscapes, how animals extract spatial and temporal cues from odor landscapes, and how they use movement for enhancing these cues while progressing towards their targets.

The proposed work encompasses physical measurement of odor plumes, behavioral measurement of animals’ paths through olfactory environments, electrophysiological and optical measurement of neural activity during olfactory navigation, perturbations of the environment via virtual reality and of neuronal hardware via genetics, and multilevel mathematical modeling.

The project’s results may lead to improved methods for the detection of explosives, new olfactory robots to replace trained animals, and new theoretically-grounded advances in robotic control. The project will inform the development of technologies that interfere with the ability of flying insects (including disease vectors and crop pests) to locate their odor target, thus opening a new door for developing ‘green’ technologies to solve problems that are of global economic and humanitarian importance.