The visual system of the tree shrew
and the chick
Processing of visual information is crucial for creatures with a highly developped visual system. The goal of our research is to elucidate the morphological and physiological basis of vision. We study the developing and mature structures such as the retina, the optic nerve, chiasm and tract, the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus, the optic tectum, and the primary visual cortex. Our laboratory animals are the tree shrew Tupaia belangeri, the closest relative to the primates, and the chick. We investigate the structural and physiological organization of the visual system using a broad range of methods such as light and electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, localization of tracer substances, immunoreactivity of early genes, immunocytochemical visualization of neurotransmitter receptors (in collaboration), single cell electrophysiological studies in anaesthetized animals, morphometry and 3-D reconstructions of the whole brain and/or specific brain structures, biostatistics, and optical imaging of intrinsic signals (in collaboration).
The motor endplate
Synaptic transmission between axon and muscle fibres and the regulation of the muscle fibre type are controlled by the so called sole plate nuclei. Calcium plays a role at all these regulation procedures. Therefore we examine the motor endplate by means of the electron microscopy. Currently we follow the question whether pathological gene defects that concern the motor endplate lead to structural modifications of the T-system and the sarcoplasmic reticulum of the endplate.
Alberi Lavinia (assistant doctor), Brai Emanuel (PhD student), Guinnard Fanny (Animal care technician), Marathe Swananda (PhD Student), Marguerite Kaczorowski (lab technician), Robert Kretz (group leader, PA, PhD)
Novartis Foundation ; intramural budget (University of Fribourg)