The Faculty

Focus

Strategies for circuit assembly and development in the visual system.

Education and Training

B. S  2002  University of Melbourne, Austrilia 

Ph. D   2003-2008   Cold SpringHarbor Laboratory, New York 

Postdoc 2008-2011 University of California , Berkeley 

Accolades

2003 George A. And Marjorie H. Anderson Fellowship, The Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

2004-2008 Leslie C. Quick Fellowship, The Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

2012 Brinson Foundation Award

2012 Whitehall Foundation Grant

2013 Sloan Research Fellowship

2013 E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation Grant

2014 Karl Kirchgessner Foundation Grant

2014 National Eye Institute Research Project Grant (R01)
 

Research Interests

How are neural circuits assembled during development to perform specific computations? An excellent model system to address this question is the retina, where a diverse set of neural circuits are wired with remarkable precision and intricacy to extract salient features such as color, contrast and motion from the visual scene. Each retinal circuit utilizes distinct neuronal types and conveys the processed visual information to higher brain by a specific type of retinal ganglion cells.
 
We are interested in the synaptic basis of neural computation in the retina. Our current research is focused on understanding the developmental and adult patterns of synaptic connections underlying the retinal circuits, and determining how the specific wiring patterns impact visual processing. We leverage the increasing repertoire of genetic tools that label specific retinal neuron types to target the synapses of interest, and characterize the maturation and function of these synapses using a combination of techniques including multiphoton microscopy, optogenetics, visual stimulation, electrophysiology calcium imaging and molecular biology. These studies will provide insight into the neural mechanisms of visual processing in the retina, and also have broader implications in the fundamental questions of synapse development and organization in the CNS.