Simple models might be useful for the study of cognition. Hence, a wonderful model to uncover mechanisms of behavioural repertoire is the bee brain (honey bee and bumble bee predominantly). Bees possess a mini-brain with fewer than a million neurons, and yet exhibit impressive capabilities in learning and memory (in various sensory modalities: vision, olfaction and gustation). Unravelling the mysteries behind bee cognition by exploring the underlying neural mechanisms represents a very exciting challenge.
I am broadly interested in cognitive neuroscience, ecology, learning and memory. My research focuses on the behavioural aspects of sensory ecology and learning mechanisms in the bee brain.
During my PhD, I was particularly interested about 'how' bees solve complex cognitive tasks (example: conceptual learning tasks). I 3D tracked bees' trajectories engaged in a variety of visual puzzle to understand how stereotypical of the bee body movements (active vision) in front of a pattern helped the bee recognise a rewarding pattern from an unrewarding one. My first post-doc created a bridge between the behavioural performances of bees and their visual anatomy, their ecology. Now aided by Prof. Barron, I am combining previously learnt techniques, modelling and new collaborations in an effort to understand how visual resolution, neural encoding and ecology shapes the bee's visual field while performing complex object recognition.