Visual Neuroscience Lab

Lab head: Dr Jin Yu Huang
Location: Bosch Institute (Disciplines of Physiology and Biomedical Science)

The morphological and physiological properties of retinal ganglion cells

Primary supervisor: Jin Huang

Humans have two eyes and they allow us to see the world around us. So how do we see? How is the image processed? The answer lies in the eyes and rest of the brain.

Located at the back of the eye is the retina. It is sensitive to light. It contains nerve cells (neurons) that are important in the first stage of processing of the visual world. The retina has many types of cells and the output cells are called ganglion cells. These cells project to other regions within the brain (such as the lateral geniculate nucleus) and are important in the modification of complex visual signals. Ganglion cells also receive a variety of excitatory and inhibitory signals from other neurons within the retina. Hence, the properties of ganglion cells depend on how these signals are integrated. An important aspect of this integration is related to the relative magnitude and timing of these inputs, as this helps to determine the spatial and temporal properties of ganglion cells. However, we do not know at present exactly how these inputs to ganglion cells impact on their activity. We are currently investigating the physiological and morphological properties of different types of ganglion cells by characterising their responses to a wide range of input signals. The honours project we are offering involves the characterisation and analysis of ganglion cells' morphology and their correlation with the recorded physiological properties of these cells. The techniques used in this project are confocal microscopy, patch-clamp and dynamic-clamp recordings.
 We published a video article recently and this video will provide an overview of the techniques we use and some of the projects we are working on at the moment.

Discipline: Biomedical Sciences
Co-supervisors: Dario Protti
Keywords: Neurosciences, Vision, Retina