How are visual signals transmitted from the retina to the brain?
How is it that, in the blink of the eye, we can see the details of the world around us? We know that all the information about the visual world is transmitted from retinal ganglion cells, the output neurons of the retina, along the optic nerve to the brain. Functional and morphological studies have revealed that about 30 different types of retinal ganglion cells send a unique image of the visual world to the brain; one cell type might prefer small dark objects, another upward movement. However, we do not know how the diverse information sent by the different cell-types collectively determines visual perception and behavior. We also do not know the response properties of many types, especially in natural viewing conditions, nor their underlying molecular or morphological features. We study these questions using a combination of neuroanatomical techniques and large-scale multi-electrode arrays, which are able to record the responses of several hundred neurons of the various cell-types simultaneously. More information...