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Prof Thomas Mrsic-Flogel
Rockefeller Building
21 University Street
London
WC1E 6DE
Appointment
  • Director, Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour
  • The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Role
Head of Department
Research Summary
By taking advantage of the most recent advances in two-photon microscopy, the research in my lab addresses three broad aims, with a particular focus on the function, development and plasticity of primary visual cortex: 1) to understand how cortical neuronal networks encode visual information, 2) to understand how they become specialised for sensory processing during postnatal development, and 3) to investigate how experiences influence the structure and function of cortical circuits. We use in vivo two-photon calcium imaging to record activity simultaneously from hundreds of neurons in visual cortex while showing different visual stimuli. This approach enables us to characterise in detail how neuronal activity is distributed in space and time within a cortical column and how individual neurons and neuronal subsets interact within a large cortical network in response to visual stimuli. We investigate the maturation of cortical network function after the onset of vision and assess the role of visual experience in this process. We are now aiming to correlate population responses with the behavior of the animal, in order to understand how network activity relates to the animal's perception. Moreover, genetic labeling of different neuronal subtypes allows us to address the role of different cell classes in sensory processing. Finally, by means of high-resolution two-photon time-lapse imaging of individual synapses (dendritic spines) over the course of days to weeks, we can visualize how synaptic connectivity changes during development, during novel sensory experiences and after learning. Together, this knowledge will contribute to our understanding of how circuits in the cerebral cortex processes sensory information and how they adapt to an ever changing environment.
Academic Background
2001 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Neuroscience University of Oxford
1996 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Biological Sciences University of Oxford
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