Euler Lab

Ophthalmic Research

Home » Labs » Euler Lab » Members » Tom Baden

Tom Baden

First nameTom
Present position and titleResearch Fellow, Ph. D. cantab.

Business address

Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN)
Institute for Ophthalmic Research
University of Tübingen
Otfried-Müller-Str. 25
D-72076 Tübingen,

Phone: +49 (0)7071 29-84749
Fax: +49 (0)7071 29-25011
E-mail: thomas.baden[at]

Personal webpage:

Academic Education

Year Degree University Field of study
2012 Summer School BCCN Tübingen Computational Vision
2004 - 2008 Ph. D. Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK Auditory Neuroscience
2005 Summer School Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth Electrophysiological techniques
2001 BA/MA hons. University of Cambridge, UK Natural Sciences Part II Neuroscience

Professional Experience

Period Institution Position Discipline
2010 CIN/BCCN, Inst. Ophthalmic Research, University of Tübingen Postdoctoral Researcher Visual Neuroscience
2008 – 2010 Medical Research Council, Laboratory for Mol. Biology, Cambridge, UK Postdoctoral Researcher Visual Neuroscience
2003 Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK Summer Student Visual Neuroscience
2000 – 2001 Inst. Neuropathology, University of Bonn Civil service /lab technician Neurogenetics

Research Interests

Sensory Information Processing

I am interested how individual and small groups of neurons arranged into microcircuits break sensory patterns into parallel, highly specific representations of the outside world. Following my PhD on auditory processing by neurons of the cricket auditory pathway (lab of B. Hedwig, Dept. Zoology, Cambridge, UK) I studied visual processing by retinal bipolar cells in fish (lab of L. Lagnado, MRC-LMB, Cambridge, UK). My current research focuses on visual processing in the mice, with special focus on the principal neurons of the retina’s vertical pathway: Photoreceptors, bipolar cells and retinal ganglion cells.

I use a combination of 2-photon imaging of synthetic and genetically encoded calcium biosensors and patterned light stimulation to probe the visual processing of individual and networks of neurons in the isolated retina.

Specific projects

1) Synaptic processing in retinal bipolar cells

Retinal bipolar cells (BCs) are the only neurons forwarding visual information from the photoreceptor array to the feature extracting circuits of the inner retina. In mammals the ~10-12 different types of bipolar cell systematically project to different substrata of the retina’s second synaptic layer, the inner plexiform layer (IPL). Here they form complex feed-forward and feedback synapses with inhibitory amacrine cells (AC) and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) which provide all the retina’s output to the brain. A series of recent studies have identified the synaptic terminals of bipolar cells as key sites in visual feature extraction. Using a combination of 2-photon calcium imaging, electrophysiology and computational modeling I probe the visual response properties of BCs towards a better understanding of visual signal transformations occurring locally within individual BC synapses.

2) Visual feature extraction in the retina’s vertical pathway

The retina is a sophisticated image processor, breaking visual patterns into increasingly specific parallel representations of the visual world along its vertical pathway. At the level of the spike train leaving the retina only a very small fraction of the visual information sampled by the photoreceptor is retained. In the mouse, visual information is forwarded from 3 types of photoreceptors to 10-12 types of bipolar cells which pass on the information to about 20 types of RGCs. At each processing step, interactions with lateral inhibitory interneurons as well as gap junctional coupling give rise to specific visual response properties of individual retinal neurons. By monitoring the visual responses to a defined set of visual stimuli at each processing level I study the gradual evolution of feature extraction as visual information trickles through the retinal network. The approach is aimed to contribute to a better understanding of which information contained in the original image is ultimately forwarded to the brain and which information is discarded.

3) Visual ecology: retinal coding of asymmetric feature distribution in natural scenes.

Sensory systems have evolved to specifically sample features in the outside world critical to an animal’s survival. Depending on the lifestyle and size of an animal, the importance of particular features differs widely between species. Within the mouse visual system one such evolutionary adaptation is particularly prominent. Rather than uniformly sampling visual information over the entire visual field, the mouse visual system features a pronounced separation of “green” and “blue” light sensitive regions of the visual field, presumably matched to differentially sample visual information above and below the horizon. These “chromatically selective” regions are rooted in the predominant expression of different opsins in cone-photoreceptors positioned at different parts of the retina. I am interested in how the “blue” and “green” system of the mouse acknowledges the particular visual feature distribution in natural scenes about the horizon.

Additional information

2014 Retina Suisse Award
2013 Teaching award 2013, Graduate School of Neural & Behavioural Sciences, University of Tübingen
2013 Attempto 2013 award for Tom Baden, recognizing the publication „Spikes in mammalian bipolar cells support temporal layering of the inner retina“ (Baden T, Berens P, Bethge M, Euler T, Curr Biol 2013, 23(1):48-52).
2013 Tübingen University, Fortüne Junior Grant
2013 Rank Prize Meeting Computational Vision, Grasmere, UK: Speaker’s Prize
2012 GES, Rio de Janeiro, Global Economic Fellowship
2012 Eliteprogram der Baden-Württemberg Stiftung für PostDocs
2011 J Vis. Neurosci, Young Investigators Prize
2008 - 2010 MRC-LMB, Cambridge, Career Development Fellowship
2007 Cambridge University, Girton College, Graduates Vice President
2006 Cambridge Graduate School, Poster Prize
2005 Cambridge Neuroscience, Poster Prize
2004 Full BBSRC Research Scholarship
2004 Cambridge University, European Trust Bursary and Fellowship
2004 Cambridge University, Newton Trust European Research Studentship
2004 Cambridge University, Department of Zoology Balfour Stipend
2003 and ‘04 Cambridge University, Girton College John B Buckley Scholarship
2003 and ‘04 Cambridge University, Girton College Ming Yang Lee Prize
2003 Cambridge University, Department of Zoology J A Ramsay Scholarship
2001 – 2004 Cambridge University Biological Society


  • PLoS ONE, Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)
  • PLoS Computational Biology
  • Nature Communications
  • Journal of Neuroscience

Further activites

2014 Organiser & lecturer: "IBRO school on Invertebrate Neuroscience", University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
06/2013 Rabat, Morocco. Society of Neuroscientists in Africa – Symposium chair and co-organiser
03/2013 Göttingen, German Society for Neuroscience Meeting – Symposium co-chair and co-organiser
2012 Co-Founder/Director of NGO “TReND in Africa” (
2012, 2013 Organiser & lecturer: “IBRO school on Invertebrate Neuroscience”, KIU, Uganda
2011 Organiser & lecturer: “Introduction to Drosophila Neurogenetics”, KIU, Uganda


  1. in press Baden T*, Nikolaev A*, Esposti F, Dreosti E, Odermatt B and Lagnado L§. A synaptic mechanism for multiplexing fast and slow visual signals in the retina. PLoS Biology.
  2. Euler T§, Haverkamp S, Schubert T and Baden T. Retinal Bipolar Cells: Elementary building blocks of vision. Nat. Reviews Neurosci.15:507-519; 2014
  3. Baden T*, Schubert T*, Chang L, Wei T, Zaichuk M, Wissinger B and Euler T§. A Tale of Two Retinal Domains: Near Optimal Sampling of Achromatic Contrasts in Natural Scenes Through Asymmetric Photoreceptor Distribution. Neuron 80:1206-1217; 2013.
  4. Yusuf S, Baden T, Prieto-Godino LL (2013) Bridging the Gap: establishing the necessary infrastructure and knowledge for teaching and research in neuroscience in Africa. Metabolic Brain Disease, DOI 10.1007/s11011-013-9443-x
  5. Baden T, Euler T, Weckström M and Lagnado L. Spikes and Ribbon Synapses in Early Vision. Trends in Neurosciences; 2013
  6. Baden T, Prieto Godino LP, Yusuf S, Berens P (2013) Neurowissenschaften in Afrika – Kooperationen und Perspektiven. Neuroforum 2/13.
  7. Baden T, Berens P, Bethge M and Euler T. Spikes in Mammalian Bipolar Cells Support Temporal Organisation of the Retina. Curr Biol. 2013 Jan 7;23(1):48-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Dec 13. 
  8. Auferkorte ON, Baden T, Kaushalya SK, Zabouri N, Rudolph U, Haverkamp S and Euler T. GABA(A) receptors containing the a2 subunit are critical for direction-selective inhibition in the retina, PLoS ONE, 7(4):e35109, 2012.
  9. Baden T, Esposti F, Nikolaev A and Lagnado L. Spikes in retinal bipolar cells code visual stimuli with millisecond precision. Curr Bio. (21): 1-11. 2011.
  10. Dreosti E, Esposti F, Baden T and Lagnado L. In vivo evidence that retinal bipolar cells generate spikes modulated by light. Nat. Neurosci 14(8): 951-2. 2011.
  11. Cederlund ML, Morrissey ME, Baden T, Scholz D, Vendrell V, Lagnado L, Connaughton VP and Kennedy BN. Zebrafish Tg(7.2mab21l2:EGFP) Transgenics reveal a Unique Population of Retinal Amacrine Cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 52(3):1613-21. 2011.
  12. Baden T and Hedwig B. Primary Afferent Depolarisation and Frequency Processing in Auditory Afferents. J. Neurosci. 30(44): 14862-9. 2010.
  13. Baden T and Hedwig B. Dynamics of free intracellular Ca2+ during synaptic and spike activity of cricket tibial motoneurons. Eur J Neurosci. 29(7):1357-6. 2009.
  14. Baden T, Zorovic M and Hedwig B. Motorische Kontrolle der akustischen Orientierung von Grillen. Neuroforum 4:267-273. 2008.
  15. Baden T and Hedwig B. Front leg movements and tibial motoneurons underlying auditory steering in the cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus deGeer). J Exp. Biol. 211(13):2123-33. 2008.
  16. Baden T and Hedwig B. Neurite-specific Ca2+ dynamics underlying sound processing in an auditory interneurone. Dev Neurobiol. 67(1):68-80. 2007.
  17. Becker AJ, Klein H, Baden T, Aigner L, Normann S, Elger CE, Schramm J, Wiestler OD and Blumcke I. Mutational and expression analysis of the reelin pathway components CDK5 and doublecortin in gangliogliomas. Acta Neuropathol.. 104(4):403-8. 2002.
  18. Becker AJ, Urbach H, Scheffler B, Baden T, Normann S, Lahl R, Pannek HW, Tuxhorn I, Elger CE, Schramm J, Wiestler OD and Blumcke I. Focal cortical dysplasia of Taylor's balloon cell type: mutational analysis of the TSC1 gene indicates a pathogenic relationship to tuberous sclerosis. Ann Neurol. 52(1):29-37. 2002.