When we understand how vision works in mice, we will have a better idea of how we ourselves see and how we can be conscious of our environment
The goal of Alexander Heimel is to understand how vision is turned into action by instinct and learning. To find an answer to this question, he and his lab measure the responses of neurons in mice using a combination of techniques, such as electrophysiology and calcium imaging using two-photon microscopy and micro-endoscopy. They also selectively perturb visual processing by optogenetic, chemogenetic and pharmacological means to investigate the neural circuitry underlying vision. Brain areas that are actively being explored by Heimel and his team are the visual cortex and thalamus, the superior colliculus, the zona incerta and the periaqueductal gray.
More background is available in a interview in Dutch with Malou van Hintum.
A recent list of all publications in English can be found at Google Scholar.
Also check out: News from the lab
Distinct subtypes of proprioceptive dorsal root ganglion neurons regulate adaptive proprioception in mice Nature Communications 12 (2021) 1026 Download
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