Booz Allen Colloquium: Robert Olberg, Union College, "Neurons and Behavior: The Dragonfly"
Friday, April 29, 2011
Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, Rm. 1110
Booz Allen Hamilton Distinguished Colloquium in Electrical and Computer Engineering
"Neurons and Behavior: The Visual Control of Prey Interception Flights in the Dragonfly"
Prof. Robert Olberg
Department of Biology, Union College
Dragonflies make their living by capturing small insects in flight. To accomplish this task, the perched dragonfly calculates a take-off direction that leads the flying insect and performs flight corrections to maintain an interception trajectory. In this talk I will present high-speed video analysis of the interception flights and describe a group of neurons that are implicated in directing the flight. The goal in this research is to better understand the way in which a nervous system controls orientation and interaction with moving objects.
Robert Olberg is the Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Life Sciences at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington with John Palka, and he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie in Seewiesen, Germany with Dietrich Schneider. Dr. Olberg has worked with his undergraduate research students on the sensory systems of a variety of insects, but most notably the visual control of flight in dragonflies, with studies in his lab ranging from analysis of single neuron activity to flight behavior. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He currently has a Visiting Scientist appointment at the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.