2021 Spring Virtual Seminar Series: Class 530.803
“Sensing in a dynamic world: how insects coordinate sensing and movement to orient in flight”
Presented by Professor Jean-Michel Mongeau
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
Every day we coordinate eye, head and body movements seamlessly to go about our daily activities. Similarly, flying insects coordinate head and body movements to orient in space. A challenge in studying biological movement is that moving sensors are coupled to a moving body. Another challenge is that locomotion is inherently closed-loop: information flows from sensors to the body and vice versa. How should moving sensors be coordinated on a moving body to enable agile movement? In this talk, I will present a framework to quantify how the brain controls movement by integrating experimental and theoretical approaches at the interface of neuroscience, biomechanics and control theory. Emphasizing the sense of vision, I will draw on control tasks in flying insects and describe how active eye movements coordinate and synergize with body movements. I will also discuss novel techniques to study closed-loop behavior in virtual reality. Throughout, I will highlight the interdisciplinary nature of my research program that can inspire the development of more agile insect-scale robots.
Jean-Michel Mongeau is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University. He directs the Bio-Motion Systems lab which studies the neuro-mechanics and control of aerial and terrestrial locomotion in animals and machines. Dr. Mongeau received a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Biophysics and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. He is the recipient of the AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) award and is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience. Dr. Mongeau was a NSF IGERT and NSF Graduate Research fellow. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a post-doctoral scholar at UCLA sponsored by HHMI and ARO.