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Scientist Mark Frye to speak at UCLA May 19 about sensory integration, neurorobotics

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Mark Frye, UCLA associate professor of integrative biology and physiology, will present a public lecture on campus on Thursday, May 19, titled "A Fly's Eye View of Sensory Integration and Biomechanics."
 
His talk, which concludes the "Year of the New Life Sciences at UCLA" lecture series, will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the CNSI Auditorium at UCLA, between Boelter Hall and La Kretz Hall.
 
To attend for free, please R.S.V.P. at http://lifesciences.ucla.edu/publiclectureseries.php
 
Trained as a neurobiologist, Frye studies how animals are able to transform sensory signals into motor signals, a process that can guide them through complex landscapes. This research has potential implications for neurorobotics, which involves using biological principles to inspire the engineering of new devices such as artificial vision systems.
 
A fly's vision, for example, is fast and efficient; if we can learn the algorithms and neural circuits by which fly vision works, we can apply those to the engineering of autonomous vehicles and gain valuable insights into how the human brain works.
 
"Modern molecular genetics is providing an ever-clearer view of how individual neurons are born, grow, function and form modifiable synapses," Frye said. "Advances in imaging technology are disclosing operational processes of the intact brain. The next challenge is to examine how behavior emerges from the interactions among multisensory processing and sensory-motor integration at genetic, cellular, cell-system and organ-system levels of organization.
 
"Our laboratory is studying the integration of biological and engineering techniques to investigate these phenomena. We hope to reveal specific structural circuits and general functional algorithms by which the multisensory world is processed, integrated and transformed into the biomechanics of complex behavior."
 
"Mark Frye is an excellent scientist and teacher who integrates his research across several disciplines," said Victoria Sork, dean of the UCLA Life Sciences Division. "He is among the UCLA life scientists transforming the nature of discovery in the 21st century, and his research has important potential implications concerning how the brain functions and sometimes fails to function properly."
 
Frye, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was a 2006 recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, awarded to outstanding young researchers based on their "exceptional promise."
 
View a video of Frye discussing his research and learn more at his website.
 
For information about UCLA's Life Sciences, visit www.college.ucla.edu/lifesciences
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