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    Mapping Data
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About Our Site

To further the understanding of how volatile chemicals are perceived as odors, we have been engaged in a large research project to relate odorant chemistry to the activation of particular locations of the glomerular layer in the rat olfactory bulb. Odorants that can evoke the perception of odors have a great variety of chemical structures, and we wanted to represent this breadth of structure and odor perception in our research. At the same time, animals can distinguish the odors evoked by very closely related chemical structures, and we wanted to represent this fine olfactory discrimination in our research. As a solution to this dual challenge, we have exposed rats to numerous sets of systematically different odorant chemicals so that we could relate the differences in structure to differences in spatial activation patterns. Because we map activity across the entire structure, our research has generated a great deal of data that needs to be stored in an easily accessible format.

Our data has the potential to be useful to other researchers in olfaction, who may be pursuing research interests related to ours. We therefore have chosen to make our database of activity patterns available to the public via the Internet. In this way, others might make their own conclusions regarding any relationship either between activity patterns and odorant chemistry or between activity patterns and odor perception. The archive should help others choose odorants that best activate regions of the olfactory bulb that they study using their own techniques, such as optical recording or electrophysiology. Our activity patterns can be compared to odorant receptor projection patterns to help narrow the range of prospective ligands for these receptors. In a related manner, our patterns might help others choose batteries of odorants stimulating the greatest variety of receptors by selecting stimuli activating non-overlapping parts of the olfactory bulb. The activity patterns also might be used to predict the consequences of damage to portions of the olfactory bulb on the perception evoked by particular odorants.

In keeping with our own focus on the relationships between activity patterns and odorant chemistry, we offer a number of search features related to the odorant. We also intend to offer searches based on location in the bulb. Preprints of our papers on the topic of odor coding are available through our publications page, as are links to the activity patterns contained in those papers. Because different researchers prefer to view bulb maps from different perspectives, we are offering a variety of alternatives for viewing the activity patterns, including 3-D rotatable models that we feel may offer the best understanding of bulb locations. We also offer an overall review of our olfactory coding research and of our research methods. We have included numerous "About" pages within this section entitled "About Our Site" in an attempt to clarify the functions and content of the site. "About" pages also are accessible through links on individual pages. If something appears to be missing, please contact us.

Mapping Data
Combinatorial Coding
Molecular Features
Glomerular Modules
Chemotopic Progressions
Global Chemotopy
Feature Interactions
Predictive Value
Odorant Concentration
Odorant Contaminants
Effects of Experience
Literature Cited


This Human Brain Project/Neuroinformatics project is funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the National Institute of Mental Health