"The organization of behavior in Drosophila: insights from robotics" with Pavan Ramdya

Past Event

02 December 2014, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This lecture is organised by the Programme on Mind and Machine

Speaker: Pavan Ramdya, Center for Integrative Genomics, Université de Lausanne, Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, EPFL

Summary: Neuroscience and robotics share the common ultimate goal of understanding how systems can be built to move effectively through the world. Robotics has since its inception drawn continuous inspiration from biology. By contrast, engineering insights have received considerably less attention from biologists. Chief among these insights is the idea that physical embodiment can profoundly shape an agent's behavior within its environment. In this talk I will show how this principle applies to the actions of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. First, I will describe how groups of flies interact to produce collective responses to sensory stimuli. Second, I will reveal a link between leg biomechanics and the coordination of walking. These studies demonstrate the importance of studying the brain in a mobile, embodied context and illustrate the scientific opportunities that lie at the interface between neuroscience and robotics.

Biography: Pavan Ramdya received a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University and is currently an HFSP Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratories of Richard Benton and Dario Floreano in Lausanne.

For further information please contact Fiona Woods at fiona.woods@cncb.ox.ac.uk