Venkatesh N. Murthy

Venkatesh N. Murthy

Co-Chair, Harvard Biophysics Graduate Program
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University

Algorithms and Neural Circuits in Olfaction.

We are interested in understanding the neural and algorithmic basis of odor-guided behaviors in terrestrial animals. To this end, we have developed behavioral tasks in mice using stimuli and situations that approximate natural settings, while allowing electrophysiological recordings, high-resolution optical imaging and optogenetic manipulation. We record neural activity in behaving mice using electro- or opto-physiological methods and relate them to behavioral features. Where possible, we also examine the neural circuits to understand how their architecture gives rise to the neural activity observed in behaving animals. Finally, we are also interested in understanding how neural circuits in the olfactory system are modified by behavioral state, experience and learning. Although we are primarily an experimental group, we collaborate extensively with theorists to seek normative and parsimonious explanations for our neural and behavioral observations.


Selected Publications:

Mathis A, Rokni D, Kapoor V, Bethge M and Murthy VN. 2016. Reading out olfactory receptors: feedforward circuits detect odors in mixtures without demixing. Neuron. 91:1–14.

Gire DH, Kapoor V, Arrighi-Allisan A, Seminara A and Murthy VN. 2016. Mice develop efficient strategies for foraging and navigation using complex natural stimuli. Curr. Biol. 26:1261-1273.

Kapoor V, Provost AC, Agarwal P and Murthy VN. 2016. Activation of raphe nuclei triggers rapid and distinct effects on parallel olfactory bulb output channels. Nat Neurosci, 19:271-282,

Rokni D, Hemmelder V, Kapoor V, Murthy VN. 2014. An olfactory cocktail party: figure-ground segregation of odorants in rodents. Nat Neurosci. 17:1225-1232.


Contact Information

Biological Laboratories Building, Room 4027
16 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617 496-4833

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