Retinal circuitry modelling
To understand human brain function and cognition, we must understand how computations are implemented within neural circuitry. Jonathan Demb's lab investigates the relationship between visual computations and neural circuit function in the mammalian retina, using the in vitro mouse retina as a model system. It is now understood that the mouse retina comprises ~120 distinct cell types that form connections and converge onto ~40 types of retinal ganglion cell, whose axons form the optic nerve. Demb's research group seeks to understand how the different cell types and their synaptic connections generate the visual computations that drive responses in the visual cortex and lead to visually-driven behavior. They are also interested in how disruptions of neural circuits in the retina lead to visual system impairments, including blindness.
Demb received a bachelor's degree from Boston University and a doctoral degree from Stanford University, where he completed a thesis in David Heeger's lab. He trained with Peter Sterling as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where he learned to work on the in vitro retina. He started his lab at the University of Michigan before moving to Yale in 2011. Demb is a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science with secondary appointments in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and the Department of Neuroscience.