Sensory and Behavioural Neuroscience Unit (Izumi Fukunaga)

The Sensory and Behavioural Neuroscience Unit seeks to understand how the brain processes incoming sensory information from the environment.

Olfaction is a salient modality for rodents, making it an ideal system to study how sensory systems of the brain guide animals' decision making.

Two broad directions include: (1) investigations into the circuit mechanisms that extracts and conditions signals evoked by odours; what features of chemical information neurons in the primary olfactory represent, and with what neural codes they do so and what circuit mechanisms underlie generation of such codes? (2) how this sensory (olfactory) processing is tuned by behavioural contexts flexibly; we investigate the interactions between local iteractions and long-range inputs that are thought to carry internally generated signals. 

We use a variety of methods such as custom-designed complex and quantitative behavioural paradigms, and a range of physiological techniques, including electrophysiology (patch-clamp, juxtacellular, high-density extracellular, and LFP recordings), imaging (wide-field and two-photon fluorescence microscopy and photometry), optogenetic perturbations in awake, behaving animals, but also anatomical techniques and in vitro physiology. We are aslo involved in several collaborations with scientists across disciplines.

More about our research can be found in the publications page.