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Dissecting a Circuit for Olfactory Behavior

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Air date: Monday, January 5, 2009, 12:00:00 PM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
Views: Total views: 115 * This only includes stats from October 2011 and forward.
Category: Neuroscience
Runtime: 01:07:36
Description: Dr. Bargmann’s laboratory investigates how the neural circuits in C. elegans develop, identifies the genes and neural pathways for its navigation behaviors and asks how sensory inputs regulate those circuits.

C. elegans, a worm with just 302 neurons, shows an unexpected sophistication in its ability to detect and respond to olfactory stimuli, making it an ideal subject in which to study these interactions. C. elegans senses hundreds of different odors, discriminates among them and then generates different behaviors in response. Since the worm’s nervous system has so few neurons, it’s possible to determine which neurons generate these behaviors. In C. elegans, as in other animals, odors are detected by G protein coupled odorant receptors. Each sensory neuron is primarily dedicated to a single behavioral task, such as attraction or repulsion, and activation of the correct sensory neuron is all it takes to generate a characteristic behavior. Dr. Bargmann’s lab investigates how sensory signaling pathways and the neurons downstream translate those sensory cues into behavioral responses. Because so much of how the nervous system functions is dictated by the precise synaptic connections between neurons, Dr. Bargmann is also investigating the development of neural circuits in order to better understand how an animal processes information and routes it along the complex neural web. By combining genetics with C. elegans behavior, she has found a gene that determines whether a worm prefers to eat alone or socially, and another gene that allows them to discriminate among different odors. More recently, work by Dr. Bargmann led to the discovery that the worms she studies are capable of learning and later remembering to reject a novel food that makes them ill.

Dr. Bargmann studied for her Ph.D. under Robert Weinberg at MIT, graduating in 1987. She pursued a postdoctoral fellowship with H. Robert Horvitz, also at MIT, until 1991, when she accepted a faculty position at UCSF. She remained there until 2004, when she joined Rockefeller University as the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor. Dr. Bargmann is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

NIH Neuroscience Seminar Series
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NLM Title: Dissecting a circuit for olfactory behavior [electronic resource] / Cori Bargmann.
Series: NIH neuroscience seminar series
Author: Bargmann, Cornelia I.
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Publisher:
Other Title(s): NIH neuroscience seminar series
Abstract: (CIT): Dr. Bargmann's laboratory investigates how the neural circuits in C. elegans develop, identifies the genes and neural pathways for its navigation behaviors, and asks how sensory inputs regulate those circuits. C. elegans, a worm with just 302 neurons, shows an unexpected sophistication in its ability to detect and respond to olfactory stimuli, making it an ideal subject in which to study these interactions. C. elegans senses hundreds of different odors, discriminates among them, and then generates different behaviors in response. Since the worm's nervous system has so few neurons, it's possible to determine which neurons generate these behaviors. In C. elegans, as in other animals, odors are detected by G protein coupled odorant receptors. Each sensory neuron is primarily dedicated to a single behavioral task, such as attraction or repulsion, and activation of the correct sensory neuron is all it takes to generate a characteristic behavior. Dr. Bargmann's lab investigates how sensory signaling pathways and the neurons downstream translate those sensory cues into behavioral responses. Because so much of how the nervous system functions is dictated by the precise synaptic connections between neurons, Dr. Bargmann is also investigating the development of neural circuits in order to better understand how an animal processes information and routes it along the complex neural web. By combining genetics with C. elegans behavior, she has found a gene that determines whether a worm prefers to eat alone or socially, and another gene that allows them to discriminate among different odors. More recently, work by Dr. Bargmann led to the discovery that the worms she studies are capable of learning and later remembering to reject a novel food that makes them ill.
Subjects: Caenorhabditis elegans--physiology
Discrimination (Psychology)--physiology
Olfactory Receptor Neurons--physiology
Receptors, Odorant--physiology
Smell--physiology
Publication Types: Lectures
Webcasts
Download: To download this event, select one of the available bitrates:
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NLM Classification: QX 203
NLM ID: 101496148
CIT Live ID: 7132
Permanent link: https://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?14842

 

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