PD Dr. Dirk Jancke, Bernstein-Group for Computational Neuroscience, Institute for Neural Computation

Dirk Jancke

Research Programme:

  • Dynamics of visual information processing
  • Cortical representations of visual parameters
  • Functional characterization of the cortical anatomy
  • Models of neural network interaction
  • Visual perception

Space-time dynamics in visual cortex

Our research focuses on visual information processing in primary visual cortical areas. We investigate how manifold parameters given in a visual scene are represented in real-time across neuronal populations using voltage-sensitive dye imaging (VSDI). VSDI, a new optical recording method, marks a significant step forward in the continuing scientific effort to decipher the brain’s neural code and computational strategies – the mapping of the functions of the various nerve cells in the brain and the interactions between them. Given the tremendous density of intra-cortical connections neural interactions play a major role in computing behavioural relevant information. We like to identify the streams of bottom-up and top-down information processing leading to perceptual correlates.

Real-time optical imaging using voltage-sensitive dyes

VSDI is unique in its capability of recording the electrical activity of millions of cells at once, giving a detailed, multi-dimensional view of brain activity in real-time. The system works with an ultra-fast, extremely sensitive camera. Fluorescent dyes stick to the outer membranes of living brain cells and glow with varying degrees of brightness according to the level of activity inside the cell. The camera picks up these variations, allowing researchers to observe the whole range of variations in widespread activity across neuronal populations. Thus our method provides an ideal access to questions dealing with highly dynamic activity patterns observed within the cortical network. A complete optical imaging system has been set up that allows for recordings in anaesthetized animals.

For more details see: http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Dirk.Jancke/