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Circuits of Visual Attention

The evolutionary arms race has optimized and shaped the way animals attend to relevant sensory stimuli in an ever-changing environment. This is a complex task because the vast majority of sensory experiences are not relevant. Within this project, we aim to uncover computational rules of sensorimotor transformations in a context-dependent manner by combining imaging and electrophysiological techniques, with behavioral readouts.

We are currently pursuing (i) a detailed description of visual representation in the SC, focusing on understanding how defined retinal information-streams, like motion and color, contribute to these properties; (ii) determining collicular mechanisms of visual saliency and sensory-driven attention (“bottom-up” attention); and (ii) are exploring the role of neuromodulatory streams on sensory transformation and multisensory integration, all within the superior colliculus.

Awake behaving imaging experiments of visual responses in the SC. A. Experimental Set-up. Head fix mouse during recording. B. Example region of interest in the Superior Colliculus. C. Extracted Calcium traces. D. An example stimulus used to characterize flow filed responses in the SC. E. Example flow-fields and receptive field computed for a single SC neuron.