NEW YORK (January 5, 2011) – The German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI), in cooperation with the Max Planck Florida Institute will host a discussion on the principles of processing and decoding motion information and color cues in the fly brain. The discussion will take place on Thursday, January 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the German House New York (871 United Nations Plaza, First Avenue, btw. 48th & 49th Streets).
By studying a brain on a much smaller scale, researchers are trying to unlock the complexities of the human brain. Compared to a human brain with its billions of neurons, a fly brain, with roughly 100,000 nerve cells, is a manageable system for studying the basics of neural information processing.
Using information obtained from his studies of the fly visual system, Prof. Axel Borst, Director of Systems and Computational Neurobiology at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany, has developed “robofly” – a flying robot whose flight trajectory is controlled by visual stimuli. While Prof. Borst’s research focuses on decoding motion information and how it is used for navigation and flight control in the cockpit of a fly, Prof. Claude Desplan’s work is related to color vision. Both Prof. Borst and Prof. Desplan, who heads the Laboratory for Molecular Genetics at the Department of Biology at New York University, have identified and manipulated neurons involved in response to visual stimulation.
The German Center for Research and Innovation, which opened in February 2010, provides information and support for the realization of cooperative and collaborative projects between North America and Germany in the humanities, science, and technology. With the goal of enhancing communication on the critical challenges of the 21st century, GCRI hosts a wide range of events from lectures and exhibitions to workshops and science dinners. Created as a cornerstone of the German government’s initiative to internationalize science and research, it is one of five centers worldwide.
The GCRI website, www.germaninnovation.org, will be launched soon.