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Title: Complex Computation in the Retina
Authors: Deshmukh, Nikhil
Advisors: Berry II, Michael J
Contributors: Molecular Biology Department
Keywords: MEMS
neural circuit
Subjects: Neurosciences
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Elucidating the general principles of computation in neural circuits is a difficult problem requiring both a tractable model circuit as well as sophisticated measurement tools. This thesis advances our understanding of complex computation in the salamander retina and its underlying circuitry and furthers the development of advanced tools to enable detailed study of neural circuits. The retina provides an ideal model system for neural circuits in general because it is capable of producing complex representations of the visual scene, and both its inputs and outputs are accessible to the experimenter. Chapter 2 describes the biophysical mechanisms that give rise to the omitted stimulus response in retinal ganglion cells described in Schwartz et al., (2007) and Schwartz and Berry, (2008). The extra response to omitted flashes is generated at the input to bipolar cells, and is separable from the characteristic latency shift of the OSR apparent in ganglion cells, which must occur downstream in the circuit. Chapter 3 characterizes the nonlinearities at the first synapse of the ON pathway in response to high contrast flashes and develops a phenomenological model that captures the effect of synaptic activation and intracellular signaling dynamics on flash responses. This work is the first attempt to model the dynamics of the poorly characterized mGluR6 transduction cascade unique to ON bipolar cells, and explains the second lobe of the biphasic flash response. Complementary to the study of neural circuits, recent advances in wafer-scale photolithography have made possible new devices to measure the electrical and mechanical properties of neurons. Chapter 4 reports a novel piezoelectric sensor that facilitates the simultaneous measurement of electrical and mechanical signals in neural tissue. This technology could reveal the relationship between the electrical activity of neurons and their local mechanical environment, which is critical to the study of mechanoreceptors, neural development, and traumatic brain injury. Chapter 5 describes advances in the development, fabrication, and testing of a prototype silicon micropipette for patch clamp physiology. Nanoscale photolithography addresses some of the limitations of traditional glass patch electrodes, such as the rapid dialysis of the cell with internal solution, and provides a platform for integration of microfluidics and electronics into the device, which can enable novel experimental methodology.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Molecular Biology

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