Neural circuits of vision

Neuronale Schaltkreise des Sehens

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Franke Lab

The visual system extracts information from the environment relevant for the animal’s survival. This visual feature extraction already starts in the retina. Here, the image is decomposed into multiple types of retinal ganglion cell circuits, each selective for a specific set of visual features like motion, contrast, or edges. In my lab, we investigate i) how visual feature selectivity arises across the retinal network and ii) how distinct visual features are processed by downstream visual brain areas to inform behavior using the mouse as model species.

For that, we use two-photon activity imaging, ranging from recording the local glutamatergic output of single synaptic terminals to imaging the somatic calcium activity of large populations of neurons at the same time. Importantly, we use an experimental paradigm that considers the mouse’s visuo-ecological needs and study mouse vision in the context of a naturalistic input – a critical next step to understand the function of visual circuits and their role in behavior.

In general, a detailed understanding of healthy visual function is key for identifying circuit mechanisms underlying functional deficits present in diverse (retinal) neurodegenerative diseases, thereby guiding the development of new treatment strategies to restore physiological function in the diseased system.