Group leaders

Professor Paul Martin Professor Paul Martin
 Associate Professor Ulrike Grunert

 Associate Professor Ulrike Grunert
Ulrike Grünert received her PhD in Biology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany in 1985. Following postdoctoral work in the US she became a group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1994 she was awarded her Habilitation from the Goethe University. She won a Feodor Lynen fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to join Paul Martin’s group at the Department of Physiology at the University of Sydney. In 2003 she was awarded a Lions Vision Research Fellowship at the National Vision Research Institute of Australia and in 2006 Honorary Principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She returned to Sydney in 2010 and is currently appointed as Associate Professor in Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

Group Members

Visual Neuroscience Group Photo

Visual Neuroscience Group

BSc (Hons), PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Paul R Martin BSc, PhD, Group Leader
Ulrike Grünert Dipl Biol, PhD, Group Leader
Alexander Pietersen Bsc, MSc, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Sammy Lee Dipl Biol, PhD, Research Officer
Natalie Zeater BSc (Hons), PhD candidate
Rania A. Masri BSc(Hons), Research Assistant
William Dobbie BSc(Hons), Programmer
Calvin Eiber BSc, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Cindy Guy Research Officer
Xin (Phillip) Cheng BSc(Hons), Research Assistant
Ashleigh Chandra Graduate Diploma candidate
Subha Nasir-Ahmad Honours candidate
Abrar Rahman Honours candidate

Research Activity


We are using intracellular injections, particle mediated gene transfer and immunohistochemistry to study the connections of nerve cells within the retina.

Our research aims to better understand the way visual information is transferred from the eye to the brain in segregated pathways for colour, motion and shape. We know that the image captured by the eye is sent to the brain as a series of parallel “movies” but the way that nerve cells (neurons) in the eye are wired together to create these movies is poorly understood. By analyzing the wiring diagram of the normal eye, we gain knowledge that can be used in clinical practice and treatment of eye disease.


Analysis of nerve cell connections in Human Retina

In anatomical studies of the human eye we have developed reliable post mortem tissue preparation techniques for visualizing selected nerve cell populations in retina. We have been using these methods to identify and distinguish the components of day vision (photopic) and night vision (scotopic) pathways in human retina.

Per et al

Studies of primitive visual pathways

In electrophysiological studies of the visual pathway in non-human primates we study the primitive "koniocellular" visual pathway and its relation to the well-understood parvocellular and magnocellular pathways. Our recent research indicates that koniocellular pathways form a subcortical site for low-acuity analysis of complex features of the visual world.

Complex systems analysis of Visual Evoked Potentials


We are using intracellular injections, particle mediated gene transfer and immunohistochemistry to study the connections of nerve cells within the retina.

In collaboration with the Complex Systems Physics Group at University of Sydney (Dr Pulin Gong) we are applying methods of turbulence physics to understand the "brain waves" that underlie diagnostic signals such as visual evoked potentials