About Us

Our research explores the mechanism of neural circuit development. In the spinal cord and cortex, neural circuits require activity-dependent mechanisms for normal maturation. This is also true in the early visual system. Waves of excitation sweep across the inner retina early in development and drive the formation of normal lamination and topography in visual centers of the brain. Disruption of these retinal waves results in miswired circuits and off-target brain projections. Many clinical conditions, such as amblyopia and stereoblindness, can result when the eyes do not properly wire into the brain during development. This makes the retina an ideal system for investigating activity-dependent mechanisms driving neural circuit development as well as for exploring clinical implications of the disruption of these mechanisms. Many key details about the mechanism responsible for the propagation of retinal waves remain unknown. We will continue to use cutting-edge electrophysiological, molecular, and optogenetic techniques to bring a new depth of inquiry to these central issues in the field of circuit maturation. Our work lays a foundation that should ultimately help clinicians devise better strategies for repairing or regenerating neural circuits damaged due to injury or developmental disorders.