Functional Organization of Primate Visual System
From their origin in the retina through numerous steps of processing, visual signals are analyzed by and relayed along streams. These functional streams incorporate distinct classes of neurons in the retina, separate layers of neurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus and compartmental aggregates of neurons in the cerebral cortex. How these streams are organized and the types of visual signals they carry are examined in this lab through a strategy that exploits the unique molecular characteristics of neurons. Those characteristics are identified and then used to study distinct neuronal populations in isolation. The position of these neurons in the path of visual information transfer and the circuits whereby they accomplish an analysis and synthesis of information is studied by anatomical approaches. Collaborative studies determine by optical imaging and electrophysiological methods the physiological properties of neuronal populations previously identified by their molecular characteristics. Such a strategy exploits the robust but selective expression of neuronal genes to address questions of visual system organization, function and plasticity across the primate Order, including humans.