Visual Neuroscience Research Group (ARC centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function)

Lab head: Paul Martin
Location: Sydney Eye Hospital Campus

We study the transformation of light into nerve signals by the retina, and transmission of these signals in the visual pathways of the brain.

Lab members: P Martin (Chief Investigator) U Grunert (Chief Investigator)
Funding: NHMRC and ARC centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function
Research approach equipment: In vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, high resolution fluorescence microscopy.

Physiology of an ancient part of the primate visual system

Primary supervisor: Paul Martin

In humans and other primates the visual system comprises evolutionary new pathways (called magnocellular or M, and parvocellular or P) superimposed on evolutionary old pathways (called koniocellular or K). These parallel pathways carry visual information from the retina, through a brain centre in the thalamus called lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), to the cerebral neocortex ). Our aim is to study the role of the K pathway in visual processing.

New results  suggest that the K pathway constitutes a diverse set of afferent streams that could contribute to fundamental aspects of vision including regulation of attention and cortical excitability. These are important possibilities for clinical as well as basic understanding because disorders of cortical excitability are associated with epilepsy and other diseases. 

We have honours projects available as part of this project, for students with interest in neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and signal processing.

Discipline: Physiology
Keywords: visual science, Eye disorders, Epilepsy