Professor Dr Tom Mrsic-Flogel Biozentrum / University of Basel – The European Neuroscience Institute at University College London

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Sensory Circuits in the Brain

About Professor Dr Tom Mrsic-Flogel

Untangling the complexity of sensory circuits in the brain

The capacity of the brain to perceive sensory stimuli depends on the interaction of nerve cells. We are aiming to understand the circuit mechanisms by which neural networks encode sensory information.

The brain is a highly complex network of intricately connected neurons. Each neuron is connected via synapses to thousands of others. We are interested in the interaction between neurons, because they are the basis of sensation and perception.

Processing of visual information

Neurons in different areas of the brain perform different functions. Our research is focused on the visual cortex, one of the best studied systems so far. We are aiming to understand how the brain perceives visual stimuli, by looking the activity of different cell types in the visual cortex, and how they interact to encode visual information.

Visual processing during behavior

Traditionally, the visual properties of neurons have been studied under anesthesia. Recent work indicates that sensory responses during active behavior are additionally influenced by context and the individual’s own actions. We are using high-resolution imaging to observe the activity patterns in visual cortex during active visual behavior, and relate those activity patterns to perception.
Mapping the brain

Using a wide range of techniques, we are investigating the circuitry of the brain. We have developed a new method based on two photon microscopy and whole-cell recordings that enable us to relate the function of neurons in the visual cortex to their connectivity. This technique allows us to make a map of connections in mouse visual cortex and correlate the pattern of those connections to the functionality of each cell.

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An updated list of publications can be found here.