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Subspecialties Basic & Translational Research

First Glimpses of Foveal Function

At a Glance

  • Foveal signaling and neurophysiological function has long been poorly understood, partly because of long-standing technical challenges; patch clamp electrophysiology and transient gene expression techniques have now permitted the first detailed investigation of how the fovea functions at a cellular and circuit level
  • Unexpected findings include the observation that perceptual differences in temporal sensitivity between foveal and peripheral vision originate in the first stage of visual processing i.e. phototransduction in the cone photoreceptors
  • Another striking finding is that the responses of the dominant output neurons in the fovea are minimally modulated by synaptic inhibition, unlike most neural circuits 
  • The study has caused a re-evaluation of foveal function at the cellular and neuronal circuit level and may inform future therapeutic strategies for visual disorders

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About the Author

Raunak Sinha

After a Physiology degree at the University of Calcutta, Raunak Sinha worked at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai before undertaking his PhD at the International Max Planck Research School in Göttingen, in the Department of Membrane Biophysics at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry headed by Nobel Laureate Erwin Neher. His doctoral thesis was awarded the Otto Hahn medal. Raunak works in Fred Rieke’s laboratory at the Howard Hughes Institute, Seattle, WA.

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