Two prestigious grants awarded to postdoc Ana Oliveira

Postdoc Ana Oliveira from Keisuke Yonehara's group has been awarded both a MOBILEX mobility grant from the Danich Council for Independent Research, and a Lundbeck Foundation Postdoc Fellowship from the Lundbeck Foundation, which will fund her research for 2+1 years on "Dissecting neuronal circuits underlying visually-guided behaviors".

2015.11.26 | Eeva-Liisa Røssell Johansen

Description of Ana Oliveira’s research: Dissecting neuronal circuits underlying visually-guided behaviors

Animals have a diverse set of behaviors that are triggered by specific sensory stimuli. In the visual system this process begins in the retina, which parses the visual scene into 20 parallel information channels, each encoding a specific aspect of the visual scene, before reaching the brain. The superior colliculus is one of the main recipients of retinal output and mediates tractable visually-guided behaviors. However, it remains unknown how visual signals from the output cells of the retina are processed by collicular neurons to achieve specific computations relevant to behaviors. Here, I will address this question by dissecting the physiological and behavioral function of the neural circuits of the superior colliculus. To this end, I will determine the subsets of visual features that activate individual types of collicular neurons in vivo, as well as their respective retinal input cells, by monitoring their activity during visual stimulation. These experiments will enable me to understand how computations performed by neuronal circuits of the superior colliculus are created by inputs from the retina. Lastly, I will examine the behavioral function of individual retino-collicular circuits. This work will provide mechanistic insights into the structure and function of neural circuits underlying visually-guided behavior, and how dysfunction of these circuits could lead to visual motor diseases.

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