Ongoing projects –Chemosensory laboratory – Department of psychology
Mapping CO2-activated neurons in the central nervous system of the moth
In this PhD-project, Pramod KC. intends to explore how one particular odor cue, namely CO2, is represented in the central nervous system, including the brain and ventral cord (analogue of the mammalian spinal cord). The methods include mass staining of the sensory neurons detecting CO2, intracellular recording/staining of the second-order neurons, and calcium imaging of antennal-lobe glomeruli being activated by a selection of relevant stimuli including CO2 and other odor stimuli, applied separately as well as in distinct combinations. Main supervisor is Prof. Bente G. Berg, Dept of Psychology, NTNU, and secondary supervisor Ass. Prof. Pål Kvello, Dept. of Teacher Education, NTNU. Master student Ina Saltvik is involved in the project as well.
Morphological and physiological properties of pheromone-sensitive projection neurons confined to parallel tracts in the male moth brain
In this postdoc project, Dr. Xi Chu aims to characterize individual projection neurons and neuron populations belonging to the male-specific arrangement dedicated to processing pheromone information. This system is indeed tempting for further investigations because it is driven by 3-4 odor cues exclusively – and at the same time vitally important for survival. Previous data have shown that the pheromone-activated projection neurons are present in all the three main antennal-lobe tracts. By performing intracellular recordings/staining in combination with confocal scanning and digital reconstructions, neuron models originating from different insects will be integrated into a model brain serving as a reference framework. In addition, calcium imaging experiments will explore pheromone-evoked responses in neuron populations arborizing in the male-specific antennal-lobe glomeruli. In addition to Dr. Chu, Prof. Bente G. Berg and Dr. E. Ian, Dept. of Psych., NTNU, plus Dr. Stanley Heinze, Univ. of Lund, Sweden are active collaborators on the project. Finally, master student Christoffer Berge is involved in the project.
Application of Machine Learning in olfactory research
In this pilot project, Dr. Elena Ian aims to establish collaboration between our lab group and one relevant actor from the business sector for creating models for prediction of odor-evoked activity in the primary olfactory center of the insect brain. The external actor, Inmeta, has solid experience within the field of machine learning, programming, and software engineering. The pilot project is meant to be the beginning of a more comprehensive investigation. In addition to the above mentioned actors, Prof. Bente G. Berg is incorporated in the project.
Spontaneous spiking activity in morphologically characterized neuron categories
In this project, financed by internal funds awarded Jonas Hansen Kymre on the basis of his recently completed master thesis, the main goal is to perform statistical analyses of data obtained via intracellular recordings/staining. In addition to Kymre, Dr. Xi Chu and Prof. Bente G. Berg, Dept. of Psych., NTNU, plus Ass. Prof. Gerit Pfuhl, Dept. of Psych., UIT, are involved in the project.