Daniel Kerschensteiner

Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vice Chair - Research Division, Professor of Neuroscience, Janet and Bernard Becker Professor of Ophthalmology

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    We would like to understand how neural circuits process information and to uncover the principles and mechanisms that guide their development. Our efforts concentrate on the retina, the first stage of visual processing, and its subcortical targets. We generate transgenic and viral tools to label and manipulate specific neurons in these circuits. We use light – the natural input to the visual system – to elicit signals with high precision and track signal transformations across successive neurons of the circuitry using patch-clamp and multi-electrode array recordings. In addition, we study the organization and processing of visual information at a subcellular level by two-photon imaging. We explore molecular mechanisms that regulate the plasticity and specificity of neuronal morphologies and synaptic connections in developing visual circuits. Thus, we hope to identify features of neural circuit architecture that perform particular computations and characterize how they arise during development. By interfering with the development and/or function of these features, we aim to identify the behavioral significance of specific retinal and subcortical computations.


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