David Berson, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience and Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences
Brown University, Providence RI
November 4, 2016,
4PM, UW Health Sciences, K-069
The Berson Lab is working to understand what the eye tells the brain about the visual world. They explore the structure and function of ganglion cells, the retinal neurons that communicate directly with the visual centers of the brain. There are roughly two dozen types of ganglion cells, each with functional properties and synaptic connections that appear to be matched to the requirements of specific visual behaviors. The lab is exploring ganglion cell types that encode motion of the
retinal image and stabilize our view of the world as we move within it. They use electrophysiology, functional imaging, anatomical analysis, and transcriptional profiling to understand how these cells work and how their signals are used by the brain during development and in adulthood.
Self-motion triggers complementary visual and vestibular signals that cooperatively support imagestabilization and balance. Employing calcium imaging and recording in mouse, they have shown that all direction-selective neurons of the retina
share a common vestibulocentric spatial geometry. Each type aligns its directional preferences with optic flow resulting from translation along a cardinal vestibular axis and responds best to that translation or to rotation around an orthogonal axis. The vestibulocentric reference frame for these retinal motion channels permits seamless integration with their vestibular analogs for encoding selfmotion and for recruiting appropriate compensatory motor reflexes.
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