In the Visual Neuroscience Lab, we are mostly concerned with the diversity of retinal ganglion cell types, their anatomical and physiological features, and with the question how populations of neurons are able to encode distinct features of our visual environment. In addition, we are also investigating how synaptic circuitries involving inhibitory interneurons in the outer and inner retina contribute to shaping the retinal output signals. Please visit our our lab webpage for more details.

Since the earliest days of my time as a retina researcher, I use immunohistochemistry and single-cell dye injections in combination with fluorescence and electron microscopy. Later, I 'went whole-cell' in patch-clamp experiments to record light responses from individual ganglion and amacrine cells. Here in Oldenburg I have put the patch pipettes aside to use 4096 electrodes at once, with CMOS MEAs to record the electrical activity from whole populations of spiking cells.

Please visit the publication page for more details of the outcome of my efforts.

If you're a student who is undecided about an opportunity to join our lab, or a random visitor of this page, who is curious why some people are spending so much effort on understanding the structure and function of a thin tissue located in the back of our eyes ... Let me tell you, the retina is an amazing part of the central nervous system, and uncovering its mysteries can be such a rewarding research experience. I'm biased, for sure. But in lab conditions, we can keep the intact retinal tissue in an in vitro preparation, for hours, alive and happy, stimulate it with the appropriate stimulus (light!), and measure its output (spikes!), just like how it would be sending its signals via the optic nerve to the brain. On the other hand, anatomical investigations don't just reveal how neurons are wired up to form sophisticated circuitries - fluorescence microscopy of the retina probably yields some the most aesthetically pleasing results in the field of neuroscience.

Curious and excited to learn more? Get in touch to discuss opportunities for research modules or thesis projects!

Cone pedicles

Immunolabeled ganglion cells on MEA

Dye-injected ganglion cells (Puller et al., 2015)

Cone pedicles

Bipolar cell types

Electrical synapses between horizontal cells (Puller et al., 2009)

Components of an electrical synapse (Puller et. al., 2009)

Tight junctions of the OLM

Ganglion and amacrine cells