Sussex Neuroscience

Professor Tom Baden

Tom BadenHow do visual systems sample and process behaviorally meaningful input, and how can the underlying neuronal networks adapt to changing sensory demands?

We are interested in how visual systems sample and process behaviourally meaningful information, and how processing can adapt to changing environment1–4. Working primarily on the visual system of the zebrafish, we use a combination of 2-photon imaging of genetically encoded fluorescent biomarkers, patterned visual stimulation and computational modelling to study how the neural representation of the outside world evolves as it trickles through the network, from retina to the brain and behaviour5–8. We are also keen users of modern consumer oriented manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing of the use of microcontrollers to modify our equipment and to build new and highly specialised equipment from scratch9,10.
There will be a range of projects available suited for candidates with different skillsets and expectations, from molecular genetics and physiology to computational modelling and robotics. For details, please visit the lab website: and get in contact:!


(For a full list of publications and more information, see Tom Baden's lab homepage.)

1. Land, M. & Nilson, D.-E. Animal Eyes. (Oxford University Press, 2012).
2. Baden, T. et al. A tale of two retinal domains: near-optimal sampling of achromatic contrasts in natural scenes through asymmetric photoreceptor distribution. Neuron 80, 1206–17 (2013).
3. Cronin, T. W., Johnsen, S., Marshall, N. J. & Warrant, E. J. Visual Ecology. (Princeton University Press, 2014).
4. Sterling, P. and Laughlin, S. (2015) Principles of Neural Design. MIT Press
5. Baden, T., Berens, P., Bethge, M. & Euler, T. Spikes in Mammalian Bipolar Cells Support Temporal Layering of the Inner Retina. Curr. Biol. 23, 48–52 (2012).
6. Baden, T. et al. What the mouse eye tells the mouse brain: Recording the entire RGC output at a single retinal location. Nature, in press.(doi: 10.1038/nature16468).
7. Baden, T. et al. A Synaptic Mechanism for Temporal Filtering of Visual Signals. PLoS Biol. 12, e1001972 (2014).
8. Baden, T., Esposti, F., Nikolaev, A. & Lagnado, L. Spikes in Retinal Bipolar Cells Phase-Lock to Visual Stimuli with Millisecond Precision. Curr. Biol. 21, 1859–1869 (2011).
9. Baden, T. et al. Open Labware: 3-D printing your own lab equipment. PLoS Biol. 13, e1002086 (2015).
10. Maia Chagas, A. and Baden, T. Open Source Toolkit: Hardware. PLoS Blogs (2015). at