Brains receive a tangle of multi-modal input and hold the capacity to simultaneously select adequate stimuli while ignoring others to extract the behaviorally relevant information. The resulting percept reflects a multimodal construct rather than the neural representation of single (context less) modalities. How the brain connects the environmental indentations to guide an organism’s performance, at which neural level, and how the modalities interact with each other to result in a common percept, are the most puzzling questions that drive my research.
To study a multimodal neuronal network that uses visual and olfactory information, the honeybee brain is the perfect model, as honeybees show a strong behavior based on multimodal integration since a flower combines colorful visual and olfactory cues to attract bees. During a foraging trip this multimodal compound of a blossom is associated with the nectar and pollen reward and communicated to other hive members which were recruited to forage on the related flower.
In my group we have established a long term electrophysiological access to the neuronal level of olfactory visual convergence in the honeybee brain. This brain center is called the mushroom body. Its output neurons are partially multimodal innervated and show learning related plasticity. Studying this neurons during sophisticated stimulation protocols including single modalities as well as multimodal stimuli in combination with classical learning experiments represents the bold venture of my research group.
- Characterizing neural representation of uni- and multimodal stimuli in mushroom body output neurons
- Influence of learning on multimodal integration at the neuronal and behavioral level
- Establishing suitable classical conditioning protocols to olfactory, visual and olfactory-visual stimuli
Strube-Bloss, M. F., and Rössler, W. (2018) Multimodal integration and stimulus categorization in putative mushroom body output neurons of the honeybee, The Royal Society Open Science 5, 171785.
Strube-Bloss, M. F., Nawrot, M. P., and Menzel, R. (2016) Neural correlates of side-specific odour memory in mushroom body output neurons, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, The Royal Society 283.
Brill, M. F., Reuter, M., Rössler, W., and Strube-Bloss, M. F. (2014) Simultaneous long-term recordings at two neuronal processing stages in behaving honeybees, Journal of Visualized Experiments.
Strube-Bloss, M. F., Herrera-Valdez, M. A., and Smith, B. H. (2012) Ensemble Response in Mushroom Body Output Neurons of the Honey Bee Outpaces Spatiotemporal Odor Processing Two Synapses Earlier in the Antennal Lobe, PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science 7, 1-13.
Strube-Bloss, M. F., Nawrot, M. P., and Menzel, R. (2011) Mushroom Body Output Neurons Encode Odor-Reward Associations, Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience 31, 3129--3140.