Kevin Charles Daly, Ph.D.
My research focuses on how olfactory (odor) signals are processed in the brain. I am also interested in how this processing changes as the organism experiences real world events. I employ an interdisciplinary systems-level approach that that integrates neuroethology, animal learning, behavior-pharmacology and computational neurosciences within a comparative context.
My lab uses the moth Manduca sexta. The first layer of synaptic interaction in the moth brain, the antennal lobe (AL), is structurally and functionally homologous to the vertebrate olfactory bulb making this species an ideal model system for basic biomedical research. Behavioral analyses of olfactory acuity indicate that insects recognize minute differences between monomolecular odorants. In the AL of the moth brain odorant stimulation elicits a spatiotemporal response from populations of local and output neurons. The dynamics of odor-driven responses in the AL are dependent upon many stimulus variables and are setup by a local network of inhibitory GABA-ergic neurons. This local network contains a number of different cell types and morphologies. Our ongoing research seeks to: 1) characterize spatiotemporal responses within the AL: 2) assess how AL responses change as a function of experience; and 3) assess the role that the inhibitory neurons plays in mediating output response patterns and the role they play learning-dependent changes in AL output.