Retinal encoding of natural images

Fred Rieke

(University of Washington)

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Date: March 9, 2017


Studies of the retina have provided many insights into how the nervous system represents information and performs computations. Yet even in this most accessible neural circuit, the parallel architecture of the nervous system makes it a challenge to understand how particular neurons contribute to an overall function. A critical aspect in this effort is the ability to perturb neural components and observe the effects of those manipulations. Although new techniques of neurostimulation are being applied at all levels of the nervous system, these approaches often yield an uncertain interpretation. I will discuss how dynamic perturbations of the retina combined with computational modeling can achieve a causal, quantitative understanding of the circuit mechanisms of computation. By characterizing the visual features conveyed by specific inhibitory neural pathways, we can explain how the nervous system becomes efficient, diverse and predictive.

Created: Friday, March 10th, 2017