Kayla Maanum

Effect of visual experience on ventral-preferring ganglion cell patterning in the mouse retina

Direction-selective ganglion cells (DSGCs) are characterized from other retinal ganglion cells because they generate a higher rate of action potentials when a moving light stimulus passes over the cell in its preferred direction than when the stimulus moves in the opposite or null direction. Four subtypes of DSGCs have been elucidated, each of which prefer one of the four cardinal directions of visual motion: dorsal, ventral, temporal, and nasal. Although asymmetric synaptic circuitry is a common property of these DSGCs in the mouse retina, asymmetric dendritic morphology is not. However, one subtypethe ventral-motion preferring DSGCis an exception; it is unique in its asymmetric dendritic morphology that mimics its preferred direction. My project will attempt to determine whether there is difference in how this subset of DSGCs is spatially distributed on the retina in the presence and absence of visual experience. The answer could help determine how visual experience influences the development of neural circuitry and cellular computations of motion direction in the retina.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for the amazing opportunity to complete my own research this summer. This experience has allowed to explore my passion in neurobiology in a hands-on way, and I plan to continue doing research throughout my time at Berkeley. I loved every minute I spent in lab--from planning experiments to analyzing my results. I've grown so much as a scientist and as an academic this summer, which would not have been possible without your generous support.
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Experience
  • Mentor: Marla Feller