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F.M. Kirby Center for Sensory Neuroscience

Research on the human senses has entered a pivotal period in its history, when scientists can now answer such questions as: How does the brain gather information through the eyes, ears and other sensory organs? How does the brain create a coherent representation of a person’s surroundings?

Using such tools as molecular genetics, biochemistry, computer science, microscopy and brain imaging, scientists at the center pursue studies of vision, hearing, smell and taste both in vertebrates and in medically important arthropod pests.

Members of the center collaborate to explore three research areas. The first includes genetic, molecular biological and cellular studies of the components of sensory systems. The second area of investigation is the development of sensory systems during embryonic growth as well as regenerative studies of how the systems might be repaired when damaged by illness, injury or aging. The third area focuses on determining the neural basis of perception that enables the brain to organize sensory information.