Innate visuomotor instruction in health and disease 14/5/21

Venerdì, 14 Maggio, 2021

EMBL Rome’s next Virtual Seminar: Innate visuomotor instruction in health and disease

Maximilian Jösch (IST Austria) is on Friday 14 May 2021 at 11.00 CEST.

Friday 14 May at 11.00

Please remember to register in advance (takes just a couple of moments)

Host: Dr. Hiroki Asari (EMBL)


Registration link is here:

A confirmation email containing information about joining the seminar will follow.

Please also note:  registration will close at 10.00 CEST on Fri 14/05.



The brain constantly processes complex sensory data to execute actions successfully. Evolution has shaped the underlying neuronal circuits to perform these computations quickly and efficiently. Here I will discuss two ongoing projects that explore such neuronal instructions in the visual system of the mouse. (I) In the retina, the general belief is that a relatively uniform representation of the visual world is transmitted by retinal ganglion cell (RGC) types, each encoding distinct visual features in parallel. We set out to explore the uniformity of retinotopic properties across thousands of RGCs in single mouse retinas, enabled by a novel imaging approach. Our data revealed a functional topographic center-surround adaptation across RGC types, indicating that the diverse computations relayed by RGCs can adapt globally, likely to fit the behavioral requirements imposed by the local natural scene statistics. (II) From the retina, RGCs relay their information directly to the superior colliculus (SC), a midbrain structure essential in guiding efficient goal-directed behaviors. Recently, the SC has been linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through visuomotor control deficiencies. To refine our understanding of the computations required for efficient SC-mediated visuomotor behaviors, we studied responses of independent ASD models to threat responses. All tested models show similar and reproducible sensorimotor deficits, responding on average slower and more hesitantly to threat stimuli. Preliminary data suggest that other behavioral dynamics and peripheral visual response properties remain unaffected, indicating cognitive rather than sensory or motor impairments. In line with this view, neuronal responses to visual threats start diverging in the deeper motor layers of the SC in ways that indicate dysfunctional adaptation mechanisms. These results are in agreement with a suboptimal accumulation of threat evidence to make an escape decision and open avenues to study the underlying neuronal dynamics of innate behaviors in health and disease.


Maximilian Jösch Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) Klosterneuburg, Austria

speaker(s): maximilian Josch Organizzazione:

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