Research Projects

The lab engages in a wide variety of research projects related to the retina. Below we highlight a few of these projects, which span a wide range of interests: retinal neurophysiology, retinal degeneration, visual processing under natural conditions, and theoretical approaches to understand vision.


The retina has a remarkable capacity to adjust to light levels that change by more than a billion-fold between night and day. We have several ongoing projects to examine how the retina rapidly and seamlessly adapts to changes in light intensity and other stimulus statistics. 

Cell type diversity and visual sampling

We aim to understand how diverse retinal cell types sample visual scenes. We have discovered novel ways in which this sampling is coordinated across different cell types, and we are interested in the developmental mechanisms that establish this coordination.

Imaging neural activity in the retina

Imaging neural activity in the retina is challenging because the retina is sensitive to light. We are developing light-sheet approaches to image activity in retinal interneurons while simultaneously measuring the activity of retinal ganglion cells using multi-electrode arrays. 

Retinal degeneration

We are interested in understanding how retinal degenerative diseases and associated treatments impact the quality of signal sent from the retina to the rest of the brain. Currently, we are focused on photoreceptor degenerative diseases and gene therapies for these diseases.

Cricket hunting

We are developing high-throughput behavioral assays such as cricket hunting to examine how retinal degeneration and associated treatments impact visually guided behaviors.

Retinal signals sent to the colliculus

Across mammals, the superior colliculus receives input from a large and diverse array of retinal ganglion cells. In general, we have limited information about how this input shapes visually guided behaviors. We are determining what kinds of signals are sent from the retina to the colliculus in both rodents and primates.

Canonical visual computations

Which computations performed by the retina are universal and which are species specific? We are currently investigating the retinal computations performed in rodents, primates and tree shrews to gain insights into the evolution of mammalian vision. 

Origins of cell type diversity

What principles drive cell type diversity? Can we gain a theoretical understanding for why there are so many different cell types in the mammalian retina? We are probing efficient coding theory and other ideas to learn what principles drive the formation of cell types.