I am interested in the work done by the eye and the brain to analyse the visual world and support visual perception. I'm particularly interested in the way that basic properties of networks of nerve cells at each level of the visual pathway determine visual sensitivity. In physiological experiments the functional properties of individual neurons and groups of neurons are studied. In perceptual experiments the sensitivity of human observers is studied. I use computational models to link these two sets of observations.
Gioia de Franceschi
Gain control, or normalisation, is thought to be a canonical computation implemented by the brain. My PhD project asks how gain controls regulate visual responses in the two major brain targets of the eye – the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and superior colliculus (SC). My work aims to understand the role of gain controls in visual processing, both conscious and unconscious.
My research focuses on understanding how the brain adjusts to sensory experience. The nervous system adapts to the environment over a wide range of timescales. This plasticity has been parcelled into distinct categories of study (i.e. adaptation, perceptual learning) each emphasising distinct timescales and phenomenology. My principle aim is to investigate how the visual system adapts to changes in the visual environment at multiple timescales and to understand whether distinct forms of plasticity are mediated by the same or different neuronal mechanisms.
BBSRC LiDO PhD student (collaboration with Robert Hindges, Kings College, London)
Using anatomical and physiological approaches to understand the central visual pathway in a mouse model of retinal disorganisation.
Studying the functional role of visual inputs to head direction circuits with a particular focus on the retrosplenial cortex of mice
BSc Psych student (collaboration with Rachael Pearson, UCL Institute of Opthalmology)
Studying how retinal dysfunction affects innate visual behaviours in mice
BSc Psych student
Studying the behavioural choices that mice make when confronted with multiple escape routes.
Visiting PhD student
Using computational approaches to try to understand how salience emerges over time and space in natural viewing.
MRes Brain Sciences student
Studying the activity of visual nerve cells in restrained and freely moving mice. The aim is to understand if natural (and unnatural) self-movement is encoded in the activity of neurons, as well as visual motion.
OTHER ACTIVE COLLABORATIONS
- Kate Jeffery and Aman Saleem, UCL
- John Greenwood, UCL
- Arun Niranjan, Jack Wells and Mark Lythgoe, CABI, UCL
- Adam Kohn and Amir Aschner, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Paul Martin and Sander Pietersen, University of Sydney
- Rory Townsend and Pulin Gong, University of Sydney
- Tom Carlson and Erin Goddard, Macquarie University