Dr. Sung Soo Kim — A Sense of Direction in Insects

Sung Soo Kim image


Location: Interactive Learning Pavillion (ILP) 1203


Talk Description:

As sailors use constellations, wind direction, and current to determine their heading, so, too, do animals process diverse sensory information to set their course. Via this sensory processing, the animal’s brain develops a sense of direction, a prerequisite for navigating between points. To understand how the sense of direction is generated in the brain, we interrogate neurons in the brain of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. With numerous tools that allow observing the neural network structures and activities and perturbing them, we begin to understand how the brain transforms sensory information into a sense of direction.

Speaker Bio:

Sung Soo studied to be an electrical engineer and received his M.S. for developing an automated controller, using artificial neural networks, of a nuclear power plant steam generator. Then he went to Thailand as an overseas volunteer to teach computer science at a rural university, where he became interested in real biological neural networks and found an academic field called Neuroscience. He began his journey studying enormous primate brains, but now he studies tiny brains of fruit flies, which allow him to exploit high-precision genetic tools to understand the neural basis of complex behavior

GRIT Talks:

"Ground-breaking Research/Innovative Technology," or GRIT Talks, is a UC Santa Barbara lecture series featuring a lineup of esteemed faculty. These 28 minute talks, followed by a 30 minute Q&A session, provide an insider look at innovative research happening at the university.