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Dec 1 2022

LIN Seminar: “The olfactory bulb maps breathing rhythms and place in freely behaving mice” by Matt Smear (University of Oregon)

December 1, 2022

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

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SELE 4289

Please join us on Dec. 1, 2022 for a LIN Seminar featuring Dr. Matt Smear (University of Oregon)

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Host: Joseph Zak

Abstract: Odors carry useful navigational and episodic information, but no matter how many receptor genes are in an animal’s genome, there is no receptor for time or place. To optimally orient by olfactory information, brains must unify odor-driven activity with contextual representations of self-movement and -location. Studies in other sensory modalities demonstrate that motor- and location-related signals are common in primary sensory areas. Motivated by these findings, and given the reciprocal connection between olfactory system and hippocampus, we hypothesized that the olfactory bulb encodes contextual information. To test this hypothesis, we captured the sniffing and movement of mice while recording spiking in olfactory bulb (OB), in the absence of experimenter-applied stimuli or tasks. Breathing and spiking differ between head-fixed and freely-moving states. During free movement respiration is rhythmically organized into discrete states lasting minutes, whereas these states are not apparent during head-fixation on a stationary platform. This discrete organization is likewise apparent in the “spontaneous” activity of the olfactory bulb – many individual neurons fire selectively during particular rhythmic states. In addition to these state-selective signals, we also found that allocentric position can be decoded from neuronal ensembles in OB, with comparable decoding performance to hippocampal ensembles recorded under the same conditions. Thus, even during uninstructed behavior and ambient stimuli, contextual information about state and place can be read out from the activity of the olfactory bulb. We propose that these contextual signals facilitate the incorporation of olfactory information into cognitive maps of environment and self.


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

Aug 23, 2022

Date updated

Nov 11, 2022