In this final segment of our interview with Dr. Kelliher from the University of Idaho, he describes some of the research techniques used in his lab. He investigates the use of olfaction in the social behavior of mice by using behavioral, histological, and electrophysiological techniques.

Dr. Kelliher explains how we can learn about the olfactory system of mice through these different approaches. He then describes how we can learn about neural information processing of social cues in humans even if the specific olfactory system used by mice for this purpose is not present or functional in primates.
One particular research question addressed in this interview concerns the host manipulation hypothesis regarding toxoplasma gondii. An infection with this parasite induces behavioral changes in mice that make them more prone to be eaten by a cat, which is the only host in which the parasite can sexually reproduce. Dr. Kelliher is trying to establish that the mechanism by which the parasite changes its host’s behavior depends on the change of olfactory processing pathways within the mouse, making cat odors less noticeable or even more attractive to mice.
The interviewer for this segment is Robert Nielsen, an undergraduate psychology student at the University of Idaho.

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