Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Kathy Nagel

Olfactory Navigation in Fruit Flies

Thursday, April 6, 2017
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Davis Auditorium

Most people have left a piece of fruit out and found flies there the next morning.  Insects are famous for their ability to find food using smell, but this problem is more difficult than it seams.  A piece of fruit on a table creates an odor plume, a sinuous trail of odor that meanders its way down wind.  Our lab studies how flies use this noisy signal to find their way to food.  The answer in part is that their brains combine information from many senses when deciding which way to go.  Studying this simple behavior is teaching us a great deal about how the brain computes, and turns sensation into action.


Kathy Nagel did her PhD with Allison Doupe at UCSF where she studied auditory processing in songbirds. She then completed a postdoc with Rachel Wilson at Harvard Medical School where she studied olfactory processing in fruit flies. She started her lab at NYU School of Medicine in July 2014.

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