Tom Eiting, Postdoctoral Fellow
I am a comparative and functional morphologist, currently masquerading as a neurophysiologist in the Wachowiak lab. I have long been interested in the form-function relationship of the nose and nasal cavity, a relatively under-explored region of the vertebrate head. For my dissertation I explored how the morphology of the nasal cavity relates to olfactory function in an ecologically diverse family of bats. As part of this work, I found that fairly substantial changes in nasal airway morphology do not seem to produce meaningful differences in patterns or rates of olfactory airflow, two key parameters that are thought to be important in early olfactory processing. Rather, it seems like the neurobiology of the olfactory system may play a key role in explaining differences in olfactory ability. So, I have joined the Wachowiak lab to investigate this question, and more broadly, to investigate the roles of sniffing and active sampling in the processing of olfactory information.