Neural connectivity and visual function


Robert Hindges

Professor of Developmental Neurobiology

A fundamental issue during brain development is the correct formation of connections. Accuracy of these events is critical for the correct functioning of the brain, including processes involved in memory, learning, perception and behaviour. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying this establishment of neural connectivity during development and its maintenance at later stages in life. Our research focuses on genes involved in the control of axon pathfinding and the formation of synaptic interactions between specific subpopulations of neurons. We use mainly the vertebrate visual system as a model (mouse and zebrafish), due to its easy accessibility for manipulations, the highly regular arrangement of specific subsets of neurons and the generation of defined orderly circuits either within the retina or axon projections from the eye to different brain targets. In parallel, we also work on the synaptic arrangements in the hippocampus. We believe that our general understanding of circuit assembly and maintenance will give us also important insights into the molecular processes linked to psychological disorders.

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