Université de Strasbourg

Retinotopic projections

Computational investigations into the development of retinotopic projections in mouse superior colliculus

USIAS Fellow: Stephen Eglen

Nervous systems are complex computational devices. Most of this complexity derives not from the intricacies of individual neurons, but from the ways in which neurons wire together form networks. A key problem in developmental neuroscience is to understand the processes by which neurons connect to each other. Knowledge of these basic processes should help us understand not only how normal development occurs, but has clinical implications for restoring connectivity that has been disrupted by various illnesses or injuries.

During his fellowship at USIAS dr. Eglen will investigate, in collaboration with USIAS fellow Dr Michael Reber, how neural connections from the retina wire up to the brain. In particular, they will investigate the nature of the molecular cues that guide the development of neural connections. This is an exciting interdisciplinary project combining the experimental work of Dr Reber with the theoretical expertise in modelling of Dr. Eglen which will contribute to our understanding how to simulate these developmental processes. The combination of those two approaches would help to address two important questions. 1. How are these molecular cues graded across the retina? 2: How can these molecular cues instruct the formation of connections? A better understanding of these processes can lead to more general insights in how the brain is wired and rewired over time, and may in the future help to develop important applications for restoring connectivity and “repairing” the brain.

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