My goal is to understand how large circuits of neurons work. By “circuit” I mean a brain structure with many neurons that has some anatomical and functional identity, and exchanges signals with other brain circuits. "Understanding" such a neural circuit will require answers to the following:
What does the circuit do? Find the function that relates the inputs to the outputs of this part of the brain.
How does it do that thing? Spell out the mechanism behind this computation in terms of signals flowing through neurons and synapses.
Why does the circuit do that? Explain how the functions of this circuit fit into the larger brain and relate its role to the animal’s behavior.
These days our focus is on visual processing in the vertebrate retina and its downstream circuits, like the superior colliculus. We try to use the full toolkit of modern neuroscience: electrophysiology, optophysiology, molecular genetics, quantitative ethology, psychophysics, theory and modeling. Check the tabs to read about some of the problems we are working on today...