Matthew Melissa

Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Visual Neurons

This summer, I will be using MATLAB to investigate the development of spatiotemporal dynamics in 8-week kittens and adult cats. Previously, the cats were presented with a series of visual stimuli, and electrode measurements were taken to identify the neurons receptive fields, which characterize the response of each neuron to each point in space and time. I will be applying various computational techniques to determine how these receptive fields change over short time intervals, providing insight into how course-fine tuning and binocular vision is achieved. By comparing these spatiotemporal dynamics in different brain regions for kitten and adult cells, I hope to learn more about the development of early visual pathways and neural plasticity. Because the feline visual system is very similar to that of humans, these results may have numerous applications in identifying and correcting visual disorders that are manifested during human development.

Message to Sponsor

I am extremely excited about this SURF/Rose Hills opportunity and expect that it will be one of the highlights of my undergraduate career at Cal. For the first time, I will be able to delve into a research area that interests me, investigate all of the relevant subtleties, and generate original knowledge. I know that the skills I will develop while working on this project will be invaluable in all of my future endeavors, and am truly eager to spend my summer carrying out research in the field of visual neuroscience. I would like to thank all of those who made this opportunity possible, especially my research mentors.
  • Major: Engineering Physics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Ralph Freeman, Optometry