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HEPL / KIPAC Seminar

Thursday, April 18, 2013

E.J. Chichilnisky

Salk Institute for Biological Studies

From Physics to Retinal Circuits: A Journey of Technology and Science

Abstract: Exploration of neural networks in the brain requires massively parallel recordings and large-scale quantitative analysis.  I will describe how a collaboration between high-energy physicists and neuroscientists enabled such recordings and consequent discoveries about the function of retinal circuitry and the promise of retinal prostheses to treat blindness.  Anatomical data indicate that the retina exhibits exquisite precision and specificity, features which are important for vision and for the design of prostheses. 

But our understanding of how this circuitry functions has been relatively coarse and incomplete.  In close collaboration with high-energy physicists, we developed novel large-scale high-density recording arrays and electronics to examine the patterns of activity in hundreds of retinal neurons of different types, simultaneously.  We combined this approach with high resolution light stimulation and computational analysis to reveal complete circuits in the retina at cellular resolution.  We then combined these recordings with novel electronics for focal electrical stimulation to elicit spatio-temporal patterns of retinal activity at the resolution of individual cells and nerve impulses.  These studies together begin to reveal a picture of retinal signaling, and the potential for technological interventions to treat blindness, at the native resolution and scale of the biological circuitry.

Bio: (Not Available)

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Location: Physics/Astrophysics Bldg., Kistler Conference Rms. 102/103 (Map)

(Light refreshments available 9:45 am; Presentation begins 10:00am

Open to All