Neural mechanisms of insect navigation - Barbara Webb

Event Details:

Thursday, October 19, 2017
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1:30pm to 2:15pm PDT
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Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
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Neural mechanisms of insect navigation

Barbara Webb

Professor of Biorobotics
School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh


Insect navigation has been a focus of behavioral and ethological study for many years, but has been difficult to approach at the neural level. We have used computational modelling to help bridge this gap, by relating the computational requirements of navigational tasks to the type of computation offered by invertebrate brain circuits. This includes demonstrating that the insect mushroom body can support visual route memory, and most recently, that the central complex can support path integration. The models are strongly constrained by neuroanatomy, and are tested in realistic agent and robot simulations.


Barbara Webb completed a BSc in Psychology at the University of Sydney then a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD research on building a robot model of cricket sound localization was featured in Scientific American. She held lectureships at the University of Nottingham and University of Stirling before returning to a faculty position in the School of Informatics at Edinburgh in 2003. She was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of Biorobotics in 2010.