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Dynamical causal modelling in human olfactory brain in normal subjects and patients with Alzheimer disease


The objective of the research project is to understand brain mechanisms of olfactory information processing in the human brain by the way of interdisciplinary approach, involving brain imaging, experimental tools coming from cognitive psychology and clinic al approach. Cerebral imaging techniques such as PET and fMRI are ideal for studying odour processing, and have provided a more comprehensive understanding of human olfaction. We were the first team to investigate olfactory task-related differences in brain activity and to delineate the associated cognitive components of an odour in primary olfactory (piriform) cortex, amygdala, hippocampus orbitofrontal cortex, and insula.

Other recent work by Dr. Gottfried (the proposed outgoing host) and his colleagues has demonstrated that many of these same brain regions are critical to basic olfactory processing, cross-modal olfactory-visual interactions, and odour learning and memory. Despite our advances in understanding the roles of different olfactory areas, current research has been restricted to characterizing the spatial patterns of odour-evoked activation. Recently, with the advent of new computational techniques such as dynamic causal modelling (DCM), it is possible to elucidate the interactions between different brain structures, that is, to characterize at a neuronal level how neural activity within one component of the network changes in relation to other components.

In this project we plan to combine event-related fMRI techniques with DCM to define the neuronal interactions between olfactory regions in healthy subjects. Since patients with mild Alzheimer's disease present an olfactory dysfunction and the host lab has facilities to test them, studies will also be planned in these patients This complementary project will compare the connectivity patterns between patients and healthy elderly controls, to identify where these connections break down, and explain olfactory deficits previously observed in this illness.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/psychology/cognitive psychology
  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/data science/data processing
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/alzheimer

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

OIF - Marie Curie actions-Outgoing International Fellowships



Participants (1)