Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Degree Program

Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, PhD

Committee Chair

Borghuis, Bart

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Bickford, Martha

Committee Member

Bickford, Martha

Committee Member

Guido, William

Committee Member

Leonardo, Anthony

Committee Member

McCall, Maureen

Author's Keywords

retina; systems neuroscience; imaging; electrophysiology


Phototransduction, transmission of visual information down the optic nerve incurs delays on the order of 50 – 100ms. This implies that the neuronal representation of a moving object should lag behind the object’s actual position. However, studies have demonstrated that the visual system compensates for neuronal delays using a predictive mechanism called phase advancing, which shifts the population response toward the leading edge of a moving object’s retinal image. To understand how this compensation is achieved in the retina, I investigated cellular and synaptic mechanisms that drive phase advancing. I used three approaches, each testing phase advancing at a different organizational level within the mouse retina. First, I studied phase advancing at the level of ganglion cell populations, using two-photon imaging of visually evoked calcium responses. I found populations of phase advancing OFF-type, ON-type, ON-OFF type, and horizontally tuned directionally selective ganglion cells. Second, I measured synaptic current responses of individual ganglion cells with patch-clamp electrophysiology, and I used a computational model to compare the observed responses to simulated responses based on the ganglion cell’s spatio-temporal receptive fields. Third, I tested whether phase advancing originates presynaptic to ganglion cells, by assessing phase advancing at the level of bipolar cell glutamate release using two-photon imaging of the glutamate biosensor iGluSnFR expressed in the inner plexiform layer. Based on the results of my experiments, I conclude that bipolar and ganglion cell receptive field structure generates phase advanced responses and acts to compensate for neuronal delays within the retina.