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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

BME Seminar: Barani Raman

Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, 218
6760 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

Presenting on "What the insect’s nose tells the insect’s brain? Testing a new theory for olfaction"

Barani Raman, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University will speak at 10:00 am CST on Thursday, September 23, 2021 in Whitaker 218.

The sense of smell or olfaction is regarded as a primitive sense. The olfactory system allows an organism to detect and interpret chemical cues present in its environment. A range of day-to-day functions, including appetite stimulation, food foraging and evaluation, mate recognition, navigation, detection of threats, and even early diagnosis of diseases depend on efficient processing of olfactory cues. To perform these essential but complex olfactory tasks, most mammalian and insect species have evolved strikingly similar chemosensory systems. In my lab, we use relatively simpler organisms (locusts and fruit flies) to understand the basic signal processing principles utilized by the insect olfactory system to interpret and respond to different olfactory cues they encounter. In this talk, I will provide a deeper insights into these olfactory processing principles and propose a novel theory based on ‘opponent processes’ to integrate our observations. It would be worth noting that such a processing approach would be strikingly similar to how information about color (i.e. color vision) is  processed  in many animals. 

The seminar will be in person. A live streaming option is available. You can register here

Parking is available outside of Whitaker Hall in the East End Garage. Click here for the map. If taking the subway, the nearest metrolink stop is Skinker.

Please note that for all in-person events, attendees must adhere to Washington University’s public health requirements, including the latest events and meetings protocol. Guests will be required to show a successful self-screening result and wear a mask at all times. 

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology, Medicine & Health

Biomedical Engineering


Event Contact

Mimi Hilburg | mhilburg@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Prior to joining Washington University in St. Louis in February 2010, Professor Raman was a joint postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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