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Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Venkatesh Murthy

Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology


Algorithms and Neural Circuits in Olfaction: We are interested in understanding the neural and algorithmic basis of odor-guided behaviors in terrestrial animals. To this end, we have developed behavioral tasks in mice using stimuli and situations that approximate natural settings, while allowing electrophysiological recordings, high-resolution optical imaging and optogenetic manipulation. We record neural activity in behaving mice using electro- or opto-physiological methods and relate them to behavioral features. Where possible, we also examine the neural circuits to understand how their architecture gives rise to the neural activity observed in behaving animals. Finally, we are also interested in understanding how neural circuits in the olfactory system are modified by behavioral state, experience and learning.

Selected Publications

Mathis A, Rokni D, Kapoor V, Bethge M and Murthy VN. 2016. Reading out olfactory receptors: feedforward circuits detect odors in mixtures without demixing. Neuron. 91:1–14.

Gire DH, Kapoor V, Arrighi-Allisan A, Seminara A and Murthy VN. 2016. Mice develop efficient strategies for foraging and navigation using complex natural stimuli. Curr. Biol. 26:1261-1273.