How does the visual environment influence the functional development of the retina?
Experience-dependent plasticity provides the brain with the capacity to undergo profound adjustments to changing environmental conditions. It is a fundamental property of the brain that is critical for its normal function in development and learning.
The visual system is excellently suited to investigate brain plasticity upon different stimulations at various times during development.
We are interested in how the assembly of the visual system changes if zebrafish are exposed to different visual environments. In particular we focus on circuits underlying the detection of oriented features.
We use in vivo functional Calcium imaging to assess visual responses to visual stimuli and detect any functional alterations in larvae that have been previously exposed to different environments.
We are also assessing the consequences on circuit plasticity if different oriented features are presented to the animal at the same time. This is done in collaboration with Prof. Armin Bahl, University of Konstanz
Our system is used as a model of how experience shapes functional connections from sensory organs to different parts of the brain.