Award Date: June 2010
Professor Robert Olberg has received a four-year grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to support his research project entitled “The Neuronal Control of Flying Prey Interception in Dragonflies.” This award of $317,344 (effective 8/15/2010 – 8/14/2014) will enable Prof. Olberg to continue investigations into the dragonfly brain, specifically how visual information about the prey’s position and velocity are transformed into steering instructions, directing the dragonfly’s flight trajectory to a point of future intersection with the prey’s trajectory. This project will give undergraduates at Union the opportunity to contribute to the research through summer research assistantships. Technical approaches will include intracellular recording, stimulation, dye injection, suction electrode recording, high-speed video acquisition and analysis. Additionally, Prof. Olberg shall advance this effort through collaborative research at HHMI’s Janelia Farm campus (where he has a visiting scientist appointment) to conduct wireless electrophysiological recording during free flight.