Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Staff Profile

Dr Claire Rind

Reader in Invertebrate Neurobiology


Research Interests

Understanding sensory processing in animals and its use in guiding survival behaviour, for example, to avoid collisions and escape a predator. With colleagues we copy details of insect brain circuits to build artificial visual systems that can be used for collision avoidance in vehicles. Discovering circuitry for collision avoidance requires us to reconsruct the fine  details of sensory circuitry that helps insects to respond only when a particular thing happens.

Current Work

I work on the selective discrimination of looming objects, that, by definition are on a collision course. Currently I have secured EU funding for scientific exchange programmes between labs that use bio-inspired designs for autonomous collision avoidance in drones and vehicles. To do this I collaborate with centres of excellence in Europe, South America and the Far-East to use modelling and circuit design to build hazard warning circuits inspired by locust collision avoidance pathways for use in unmanned aerial vehicles and in cars (STEP2DYNA: Spatial-temporal information processing for collision detection in dynamic environments and ULTRACEPT: Ultra-layered perception with brain-inspired information processing for vehicle collision avoidance).  In the current projects the biological inspiration will be underpinned by an understanding of the locust and mantis collision detecting pathways. This represents an excellent opportunity to visit and collaborate in labs whose focus is looming detection from different disciplines and share findings with potential end users within the consortia (STEP2DYNA, Visomorphic Technology Ltd, London; ULTRACEPT, Jaguar and Land Rover). The consortia bring together neurobiologists, neural system modellers, chip designers, and robotic researchers from Europe, Argentina Japan and China. Biological vision systems provide ideal models to develop artificial vision systems for hazard perception.

2018-2022                           EU 2020–MSCA RISE- 1,894K Euro (426.5K Euro to Newcastle) ULTRACEPT: Ultra-layered perception with brain-inspired information processing for vehicle collision avoidance. Co PI

2016-2020                          EU 2020–MSCA RISE- 1,180K Euro (130.5K Euro to Newcastle) STEP2DYNA Spatial-temporal information processing for collision detection in dynamic environments. Co PI

2015-2018                        BBSRC 3 year PhD BSEM serial-Blockface Scanning Electron Microscopy for elucidating pathways for insect motion detection. (Erin Cocks)       

2015-2020                        BBSRC Equipment Grant (£366,344.92) 14ALERT BB/M012093/1 “Elucidating cell structure in 3-D by automated electron microscopy” Plus £461,834, matched University contribution. Co PI  

2013-2017                        EU FP7 Marie Curie- People –IRSES- 433K (13.5K to Newcastle)“HAZCEPT: Towards   zero road accidents - nature inspired hazard perception. Co PI

2012-2016                 EU FP7 Marie Curie- people –IRSES- “LIVCODE”. Co PI

2012-2015                  Austrian (Styrian) Governmentgrant “Modellierung eines Kollisions-Sensors aus dem Tierreich zur Entwicklung vonOrientierungshilfen für Blinde oder Sehbehinderte”. Co PI with Dr Gerd Leitinger, Graz, Austria

2012-2015                  BBSRC 4 year PhD Evolutionary arms races in “3-D” mantis vision       

2011-2014                  BBSRC 293K An investigation of the synergistic impact of sub lethal exposure to industrial chemicals on the learning capacity and performance of bees. Collaborator with Dr G Wright