A fly's eye view

June 14, 2000

What can a fly's eye view of the world tell us about how our own brains work?

A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge will be answering this question at the Royal Society's New Frontiers in Science Exhibition, which opens next week.

The group's exhibit, called Seeing the brain through a fly's eye, will demonstrate how research into a fly's visual system can show how our own brains have evolved to process information more efficiently.

As well as getting the chance to discover what the world looks like through the eyes of a common housefly, visitors to the exhibition will be able to take part in experiments with giant model neurones -- and take a look at some of the research being carried out in the Insect Vision Group, at the University of Cambridge's Department of Zoology.

Professor Simon Laughlin, head of the group, has been researching how much energy an insect uses to process different kinds of information.

Since energy supply is critical to the brain, there is an evolutionary pressure on the brain to use energy efficiently.

Professor Laughlin said:

"Understanding the relationship between energy and information processing could have far-reaching implications.

"If we can understand which processes in the human brain consume the most energy, this could be useful for developing effective treatments for treating stroke patients.

"It could also give us a better understanding of how state-of-the-art scanning techniques, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) work."
-end-
Notes for editors:

1. Seeing the brain through a fly's eye was devised by Rob Harris and Brian Burton, in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. The exhibition team also includes Dr David Smith and Dr Gonzalo Garcia de Polavieja, also of the Department of Zoology, and Ben Tatler of the University of Sussex.

2. Research in the group is funded by The Rank Prize Funds, The Wellcome Trust, BBSRC. The Royal Society exhibit was sponsored by the BBSRC and Granta Park Ltd., Great Abington, Cambridge and supported by Sony UK, the Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge and The Royal Society.

3. New Frontiers in Science 2000 is the Royal Society's annual summer science exhibition. It will be held in London at The Royal Society, 6 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG, from 20 June 2000 to 22 June 2000. Contact 207-451-2513 for further details.

The exhibition will also be held in Edinburgh at The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ, from 28 June 2000 to 29 June 2000. Contact 131-240-5000 for further details.




University of Cambridge

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.