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Dr Sylvia Schroeder
Wing 2.1
Cruciform Buuilding
Gower Street
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • Institute of Ophthalmology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

I started my academic career at the University of Osnabrueck with a BSc in Cognitive Science and an Intermediate diploma in Mathematics. In my Bachelors these I investigated influences on visual attention in humans and found that spatial viewing biases and information content had the largest impact on attention.

My career continued at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, Zurich, with a MSc in Neural Systems and Computation and a PhD in Biology. I studied the functional relationship between neurons within a cortical column of cat primary visual cortex and showed that neurons within a cortical column are functionally more diverse than expected, informing our understanding of cortical computation.

In 2014 I joined the laboratory of Matteo Carandini and Kenneth Harris.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

I am a Senior Research Associate in Systems Neuroscience studying how the brain processes visual input in order to make decisions and produce motor outputs. My research has shown that the earliest stages of visual processing in the brain, including the retina, are influenced by various behaviours like running or engaging in a decision task.

I am using mice as a research model and various techniques to record and manipulate the activity of neurons. These techniques include two-photon imaging, electrophysiology using silicon probes with high-density recording sites (Neuropixels probes), and optogenetics.

In a recent project, I have recorded activity of single axons and axon terminals of retinal ganglion cells and found that their activity changes with the level of alertness, even during darkness. This shows that information processing just a few synapses away from the sensory input is already influenced by the behavioural state.  Furthermore, the modulation of retinal ganglion cells was comparable in strength to neurons in area that gets direct input from the retina, the superficial layers of the superior colliculus. Behavioural modulation seen in a brain area may thus be partly inherited from its inputs.

2018 Senior Research Associate Institute of Ophthalmology UCL, United Kingdom
2014 – 2018 Postdoc Institute of Ophthalmology UCL, United Kingdom
2013 – 2013 Postdoc Institute of Neuroinformatics ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Academic Background
2013 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Biology Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich
2009 MSc Master of Science – Neuroinformatics Universitat Zürich
2007 BSc Bachelor of Science – Cognitive Science Universitat Osnabrück
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