We are investigating two neural circuits that are involved in the processing of visual information - the retina and the visual cortex. The question that guides our research is “how do synapses in the visual system contribute to the extraction and transfer the information in a visual stimulus?”.
A PhD studentship is available now. Apply by 15th July 2017.
How do synaptic machines function within neural circuits? We have developed fluorescent reporter proteins by which the electrical activation of synapses and the resulting output - vesicle fusion – can be monitored across hundreds of neurons simultaneously. By applying multiphoton microcopy to transgenic zebrafish and mice expressing these reporters we can observe synaptic activity in vivo as the visual system responds to stimuli. Most of our work has investigated the retina of zebrafish, but we are now also working on the synaptic basis of computations in the visual cortex of mice. Our general aim is to understand how the short-term platicity of synapses contributes to the control of tuning and responsitivity within these circuits. We are particularly interested in “network adaptation” - changes in the way that visual stimuli are processed by the neural circuit according to the recent history of activity.
Our approach to investigating these questions involves a combination of techniques, including electrophysiology, molecular biology, multiphoton imaging and computational modelling.
Prof. Leon Lagnado FMedSci
Professor of Neuroscience
School of Life Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QG
Tel: 01273 877431
Positions are currently available and enquiries are welcome. These positions will be funded by the Wellcome Trust and the BBSRC. If you are interested in the questions that we are asking and have experience in one or more of the techniques that we use, please contact Leon Lagnado with a CV and a short description of your experience in research.
"Distributed neural processing of self-generated visual input in a vertebrate brain", co-supervised by Dr. Chris Buckley. Deadline 15th July 2017.
During movement sensory input and motor output are bound in a closed-loop: motor actions shape sensory input and sensory inputs inform future motor commands. We will characterise the neural circuits involved in the interactions between the sensory and motor systems using light-sheet microscopy to image neural activity across the brain of live zebrafish in a virtual reality environment (Nature. 2013;493: 466–468). The project will involve computational modeling and “big-data” analysis as well as experiments. Appropriate backgrounds therefore include physical and computational science as well as neuroscience. Experience with programming and a quantitative approach are essential. More information about the project and how to apply is available here.