News Release 10-181
Mapping Color Vision in HD
Researchers use hi-res detector to map neural circuits of the retina
October 6, 2010
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Eyes are image detectors that can gather many different types of data: light and dark, a rainbow of colors--even motion. Researchers know that many different cell types in the retina are involved, but they aren't sure how many there are, what they all do, or how they are connected together.
The NSF-supported research of high energy physicist Alan Litke, carried out in an interdisciplinary, international collaboration of physicists, neurobiologists and experts in nanofabrication, is starting to provide answers to some of these questions. Using a tiny, multi-electrode retinal readout system inspired by detector technologies that physicists are using to search for the Higgs Boson, scientists discovered a new cell type in 2007. Now, using an even more fine-grained version of the technology, they have mapped out the functional connections between populations of retinal cells.
The new study, published in the Oct. 7, 2010, issue of the journal Nature, describes neural circuits at the resolution of individual neurons, and the neural code used by the retina to relay color information to the brain. Additional details are available in the press release from the Salk Institute.
Krastan B. Blagoev, NSF, (703) 292-4666, email: email@example.com
Alan Litke, University of California at Santa Cruz, 011-41-22-767 7376, email: Alan.Litke@cern.ch
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