We investigate the mechanisms by which neural circuits process visual information, with an emphasis on the contribution of synapses. The following questions represent some of the themes guiding our research:
- How do synapses work as machines?
- How do the properties of synapses determine the processing of visual signals in the retina and higher visual centres?
- What are the circuit mechanisms that control “network adaptation” – changes in the way that visual stimuli are processed according to the recent history of the stimulus?
- What are the functional roles of different types of inhibitory interneuron during neural computations such as motion anticipation or predictive coding?
- How do neuromodulators alter synaptic function and reconfigure signal flow in the retina and higher visual centres?
- How do changes in behavioural state alter early sensory processing?
Our primary experimental model are larval zebrafish. We use fluorescent reporter proteins in combination with multiphoton microscopy and single-plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) to monitor circuit activity and manipulations such as optogenetics to test hypotheses. Projects involve a combination of molecular biology, physiological experiments, quantitative analysis and modelling.