Zrenner Lab

Experimental Retinal Prothetics Group

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Daniel Rathbun

First nameDaniel
Present position and titlePrincipal Investigator, Group Leader (Supported by BMBF)

Business address

Experimental Retinal Prothetics Group
Institute for Ophthalmic Research
University of Tübingen
Elfriede-Aulhorn-Strasse 7
D-72076 Tübingen,

Phone: +49 (0)7071 29-87785
Fax: +49 (0)7071 29-4472
E-mail: daniel.rathbun[at]uni-tuebingen.de

Academic Education

Year Degree University Field of study
2009 Ph.D. University of California, Davis Neuroscience
2006 Summer Course Cold Spring Harbor Labs Computational Neuroscience: Vision
2003 Summer Course Cold Spring Harbor Labs Structure, Function, and Development of the Visual System
2001 B.S. (Cum Laude) University of Texas, Dallas Neuroscience

Professional Experience

Period Institution Position Discipline
2014 - Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, Germany Principal Investigator Retinal Prosthetics
2009 - 2014 Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, Germany Post-Doctoral Researcher Retinal Prosthetics
2002 - 2009 University of California, Davis Pre-Doctoral Researcher Neuroscience
2002 University of Texas, Dallas Post-Graduate Researcher Neuroscience
1999 - 2002 University of Texas, Dallas Undergraduate Research Assistant Neuroscience

Research topic: Biomedical Engineering – Retina Implant Project

I study how mouse retinal ganglion cells respond to electrical stimulation in order to guide development of next-generation subretinal prostheses.

Additional information

Professional Service

  • Chair-elect: Assn. Res. Vis. Ophthalmol. (ARVO) Global Members Committee
  • Session Moderator: Artificial Vision 2013
  • Referee: Journal of Neural Engineering, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology
  • Grant Reviewer: National Science Centre, Poland


  • Travel award (2008), Graduate Student Association, University of California, Davis
  • First Place (2004), Center for Neuroscience Poster Day, University of California, Davis
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence (2001), College Master’s Award for Leadership and Service (2001), School of Human Development, University of Texas, Dallas
  • School Honors (2001), School of Human Development, University of Texas, Dallas
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship (1997-2001), University of Texas, Dallas

Actively Funded Projects

  • “SysRetPro: Systems Neuroscience in Service of the Next-Generation Retinal Prosthesis.”
    (€1.2 mio., 2014-2019, BMBF; FKZ: 031a308)

Funded Projects

  • “Toward a MEA-based assay of mouse retinal function.” – D. Rathbun; fortüne Juniorantrag (Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Klinische Forschung – University Tuebingen); Postdoc stipend 2012: 58.800 €
  • “Refining the Retinal Implant:  Spatiotemporal interactions of electrical desensitization in multiple mouse retinal ganglion cell types.” – D. Rathbun; Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University Tuebingen; Pool grant 2010: 18.800€
  • “Establishment of the rd10 mouse line for studies on retinal function and degeneration.” – T. Euler, F. Paquet-Durand, T. Münch & D. Rathbun; Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University Tuebingen; Pool grant 2010: 62.100€
  • “Guiding the next generation of retinal prostheses.” – D. Rathbun; Tistou & Charlotte Kerstan Foundation; Postdoc stipend 2010: 22.500 €


  1. Sekhar S, Jalligampala A, Zrenner E, Rathbun DL.  „Tickling the retina: integration of subthreshold electrical pulses can activate retinal neurons.”  J. Neural Eng. (accepted 12.04.2016)
  2. Rathbun DL, Alitto HJ, Warland DK, Usrey WM.  “Stimulus Contrast and Retinogeniculate Signal Processing.”  Front. Neural Circuits.  2016 Feb:10(8)
  3. Zrenner E, Greger B, Rathbun DL.  "The New Age of Implanted Visual Prostheses." in Restoring Vision to the Blind. Ed. Dowling JE.  Lasker Foundation.  2015.  Also published in a special edition of Transl. Vis. Sci. Tech. vol. 3(7), pp. 3. 2014
  4. Moore BD, Rathbun DL, Usrey WM, Freeman RD.  “Spatiotemporal Flow of Information in the Early Visual Pathway.”  Eur. J. Neurosci. 2014 Feb 39(4):593-601
  5. Zrenner E, Bartz-Schmidt KU, Benav H, Besch D,  Bruckmann A, Danz S, Gabel V-P, Gekeler F, Graf H-G, Greppmaier U, Harscher A, Hoertdoerfer G, Kibbel S, Klose U, Kopp A, Kusnyerik A, Nisch W, Peters T, Rathbun D, Reinert S, Stingl K, Sachs H, Sliesoraityte I, Stett A, Szurman P, Wilhelm B, Wilke R, Wrobel W.  “Details on the technology of the subretinal implant, clinical Study Design, Results and Spontaneous Reports of Patients Including Nine Movie Clips on Performance.”  Proc. R. Soc. B May 22, 2011 278:1489-1497.
  6. Rathbun DL, Warland DK, Usrey WM.  “Spike Timing and Information Transmission at Retinogeniculate Synapses.” J. Neurosci. 2010 Oct;30(41):13558-66
  7. Alitto HJ, Moore BD IV, Rathbun DL, Usrey WM.  “A Comparison of Visual Responses in the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus of Alert and Anesthetized Macaque Monkeys.”  J. Physiol. 2010
  8. Koepsell K, Wang X, Vaingankar V, Wei Y, Wang Q, Rathbun DL, Usrey DL, Hirsch JA, Sommer FT.  “Retinal Oscillations Carry Visual Information to Cortex.”  Frontiers Syst. Neurosci. 2009;3:4  IF: 2.59
  9. Usrey WM, Rathbun DL.  “Geniculo-striate pathways.” in Encyclopedia of Neuroscience 1st ed. Berlin: Springer-Verlag 2008.
  10. Rathbun DL, Pandya PK, Moucha R, Engineer ND, Kilgard MP.  “Spectral and Temporal Processing in Rat Posterior Auditory Cortex.” Cerebral Cortex 2008 Feb;18(2):301-14
  11. Rathbun DL, Alitto HJ, Weyand TG, Usrey WM.  “Interspike interval analysis of retinal ganglion cell receptive fields.”  J Neurophysiology 2007 Aug;98(2):911-9
  12. Percaccio CR, Engineer ND, Pandya PK, Moucha R, Rathbun DL, Pruette AL, Kilgard MP.  “Environmental Enrichment Increases Paired Pulse Depression in Rat Auditory Cortex.”  J Neurophysiol 2005 Nov;94(5):3590-600.
  13. Pandya PK, Moucha R, Engineer ND, Rathbun DL, Vazquez J, Kilgard MP.  “Asynchronous inputs alter excitability, spike timing, and topography in primary auditory cortex.”  Hearing Research 2005 May;203(1-2):10-20
  14. Moucha R, Pandya PK, Engineer ND, Rathbun DL, Kilgard MP.  “Background sounds contribute to spectrotemporal plasticity in primary auditory cortex.”  Exp Brain Res. 2005 May;162(4):417-427
  15. Engineer ND, Percaccio CR, Pandya PK, Moucha R, Rathbun DL, Kilgard MP.  “Environmental Enrichment Improves Response Strength, Threshold, Selectivity, and Latency of Auditory Cortex Neurons.”  J Neurophysiol. 2004 Jul;92(1):73-82
  16. Kilgard MP, Pandya PK, Vazquez JL, Rathbun DL, Engineer ND, Moucha R.  “Spectral Features Control Temporal Plasticity in Auditory Cortex.” Audiology and Neurotology 2001 Jul-Aug;6(4):196-202