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Neuroscience Brown Bag Series

Thursday, January 25, 2018,

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  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 316


Douglas G. McMahon, PhD

Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences and Chair

Department of Biological Sciences

Vanderbilt University



Neural Network Adaptation in the Retina: Dopamine and Circadian Mechanisms



A fundamental problem for sensory systems is how to encode the incredible dynamic range of stimuli available in the environment using the much more limited dynamic range of neural transduction and synaptic communication mechanisms. The vertebrate retina encodes approximately 14 log units of luminance intensity using three types of photoreceptors with distinct dynamic ranges – rods, cones and intrinsically photoreceptive ganglion cells – but also has potent mechanisms that reconfigure retinal circuits for light and dark adapted vision.  Here we will explore the central role of retinal dopamine in neural network adaptation in the retina; elucidating novel circuits regulating its release, defining what aspects of visual processing are impacted by dopamine, and targeting cell-specific sites of its action within retinal circuitry.