In the Murthy lab, I will explore the neural mechanisms that allow mice to make decisions based on olfactory information. Scents provide mice with vital clues about their environment: Based on the strength and source of these odors, animals often make split-second decisions about how to behave—whether it’s to race toward the tasty smells of a promising feast or to flee from the warning scent of a potential foe. Although researchers have mapped brain regions involved in the detection and identification of smells, little is known about how neurons in these structures allow mice to assess whether scents are growing stronger or weaker—and to make decisions based on the temporal features of this information. Now, using an innovative combination of molecular genetics, brain imaging, behavioral analysis, and techniques for monitoring and manipulating the activities of neuronal populations in mice, I will determine how neurons in several brain regions record and analyze changes in olfactory information over time, and which of these neural circuits drive the animals to move in the direction in which smells are growing stronger. This work will broaden our understanding of how animals use scents to guide their behaviors, including foraging for food or searching for mates.