This project addresses the fundamental question: how does the history of sensory experience affect behavioral decision-making? We address this problem in the neuroethological context of mosquito host seeking, in which the presence of thermal and carbon dioxide signals trigger and direct search behavior. This project has several novel aspects. It will quantitatively explore this synergistic stimulus interaction in the context f a natural behavior and develop models for multisensory integration based both on behavioral and neural data. It will address the spatial variations in the statistical structure of olfactory and thermal stimuli through recordings and direct numerical simulations, and examine whether the universal properties of turbulently advected scalar fields can provide sensory evidence for source location and shape neural responses. We will obtain novel neural recordings in response to multiple time-varying inputs. By a developing tethered flight preparation for mosquitoes, we will be able to record neural activity during constrained flight and directly relate sensory neural responses to behavioral outcomes. The results from this project may help in the design of noninvasive mosquito repellents or attractants and so have an impact on disease transmission. The work may also have impact beyond insect physiology in the design of algorithms for novel sensors in the olfactory domain. Additional broader impacts from this project arise from educational and community engagement through interdisciplinary training of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; active involvement of our research groups in the broader goals of integrated education and research experiences in the areas of Computational Neuroscience and Neural Engineering through new campus-wide initiatives; communication of our results to the community through a wide variety of social media; and participation in outreach activities to teachers and K-12 classrooms.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-B (50))
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Sullivan, Susan L
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University of Washington
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Pang, Rich; van Breugel, Floris; Dickinson, Michael et al. (2018) History dependence in insect flight decisions during odor tracking. PLoS Comput Biol 14:e1005969
van Breugel, Floris; Huda, Ainul; Dickinson, Michael H (2018) Distinct activity-gated pathways mediate attraction and aversion to CO2 in Drosophila. Nature 564:420-424
Lutz, Eleanor K; Lahondère, Chloé; Vinauger, Clément et al. (2017) Olfactory learning and chemical ecology of olfaction in disease vector mosquitoes: a life history perspective. Curr Opin Insect Sci 20:75-83
Vinauger, Clément; Lahondère, Chloé; Cohuet, Anna et al. (2016) Learning and Memory in Disease Vector Insects. Trends Parasitol 32:761-771
Pang, Rich; Lansdell, Benjamin J; Fairhall, Adrienne L (2016) Dimensionality reduction in neuroscience. Curr Biol 26:R656-60
van Breugel, Floris; Riffell, Jeff; Fairhall, Adrienne et al. (2015) Mosquitoes Use Vision to Associate Odor Plumes with Thermal Targets. Curr Biol 25:2123-9
Vinauger, Clément; Lutz, Eleanor K; Riffell, Jeffrey A (2014) Olfactory learning and memory in the disease vector mosquito Aedes aegypti. J Exp Biol 217:2321-30
Fairhall, Adrienne (2014) The receptive field is dead. Long live the receptive field? Curr Opin Neurobiol 25:ix-xii