• Bart G. Borghuis, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology, University of Louisville

    Research: “Synaptic mechanisms for parallel processing in retinal circuitry”


    Synaptic mechanisms for parallel processing in retinal circuitry

    A ubiquitous feature of the brain is the division of sensory information into parallel signaling pathways. Parallel processing makes the brain more efficient, because each pathway can be optimized for encoding a specific class of information. While functional differences between parallel pathways are well established, many of the cell-intrinsic, synaptic, and circuit-level mechanisms that generate these differences have remained unclear.

    Research in the Borghuis laboratory concentrates on the cell-intrinsic, synaptic, and circuit-level mechanisms for parallel processing in the mouse visual system. Parallel processing starts at the first visual synapse in the retina, where a cone photoreceptor connects to each of approximately twelve bipolar cell types, each with distinct response properties at the level of their synaptic output. This functional diversity is critical for the formation of 30 – 50 distinct visual representations at the level of the retinal ganglion cells, which selectively encode contrast polarity, size, color, contours, and visual motion. A central goal of the research is to elucidate how these emergent visual properties depend on synaptic mechanisms within retinal circuitry. We combine cutting-edge imaging with whole-cell electrophysiological methods to elucidate the mechanisms for stimulus encoding and information processing in the retina, including gain control and signal integration in parallel neural pathways at the synaptic and sub-cellular compartment level, as well as the input-output relationships of genetically targeted neuron types in intact, identified neural circuits.


    Bart G. Borghuis, PhD publications

Copyright ©2011 E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind