Prof Catherine Mccrohan MA, DPhil

Academic Director of the Uni College

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Research interests

Comparative Neurobiology and Behaviour

My research uses invertebrates to study the neural bases of behaviour, together with factors which influence behavioural decision-making. 

Olfactory coding in a 'simple' system

Understanding olfactory coding and perception is a major challenge for sensory neuroscience.  We are using a 'simple' and malleable organism, the Drosophila larva, to study the principles underlying peripheral olfactory coding and how sensory signals are integrated within a neural network to produce a behavioural response.  The larva's peripheral olfactory network comprises only 21 receptor neurons in each 'antenna' (compared to >1200 in the adult), but can detect more than 60 odours and discriminate most of these.  We have developed a method for electrophysiological recording from the larval 'nose' - the dorsal organ - in vivo.  In addition we can generate larval lines which express a single (or two) specific olfactory receptor genes, and hence possess a single (or two) functional receptor neuron(s).  We are exploiting these lines, in comparison with wild-type larvae, in behavioural, electrophysiological and computational studies, in order to 'crack' the olfactory across-fibre code. 



Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display