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Dr. Avis Cohen (from University of Maryland at College Park), "An Integrated Study of a Neuromechanical System: Going from Neurons to Vortices"

Date: 04/21/11
Time: 4-6 p.m.
Audience: Public
Sponsored By: School of Science and Engineering
Location: Coykendall Science Building Auditorium
Contact: Dr. Julio J. Gonzalez, x3724,

Locomotion is the product of neural output acting on muscles driving a mechanically complex body in an unpredictable environment. Interactions within and among these elements permit adaptive movement. The lamprey is a simple, well-studied and relatively tractable vertebrate model with which to probe this neuromechanical system. Our group of biologists, engineers, and mathematicians has been engaged in an integrated study of lamprey swimming through exploitation of neural and mechanical studies employing a set of models, both computational and mechanical, that encapsulate our knowledge of the neuromechanical system. We are now producing an integrated computational fluid dynamics model that accurately simulates the interactions among the central pattern generator (CPG), muscle, body, environment, and relevant feedback paths - going from the neurons to the vortices. Dr. Avis Cohen is a professor at the Department of Biology, Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and at the Institute for Systems Research (ISR) in the University of Maryland, College Park.