New Pathway Between Eye and Brain Discovered

Researchers from the Save Sight Institute in Sydney have identified a new pathway from the eye to the brain.

Researchers from the Save Sight Institute in Sydney have identified  a new pathway from the eye to the brain.

According to Professor of Experimental Ophthalmology Paul Martin “The discovery of this pathway is significant because  it may contribute to the residual visual functions called ‘blind sight’ that are sometimes retained after brain damage due to stroke or other cause”.

The discovery came from an international collaboration between Save Sight Researchers Kumiko Percival, Rania Masri,  Paul Martin and Ulrike Grünert, with Japanese researcher Amane Koizumi and Peter Buzás from Hungary. Together they  combined methods to trace a pathway from receptor cells in the eye to motion-processing regions in visual brain centres.

Professor Martin adds “By knowing what kinds of cells feed these functions we can tailor the treatment and rehabilitation to make best use of their properties.”

The paper “Identification of a pathway from the retina to koniocellular layer k1 in the lateral geniculate nucleus of marmoset.” was published in the Journal of Neuroscience this week and one of the nerve cells with its retina connections was chosen for the journal cover illustration. 

SSI students sought after by leading international research institutes

Two valued student members of Save Sight Institute’s Billson Laboratory have taken up prestigious new postdoctoral positions in the USA.

Two valued student members of Save Sight Institute’s Billson Laboratory have taken up prestigious new postdoctoral positions in the USA.

Kumiko Percival has moved to the Casey Eye Institute at the Oregon Heath and Science University in Portland. She will study the physiology of nerve cell connections in primate retina with Dr Rowland Taylor.

Kenny Cheong will apply his love of bio-technology to postdoctoral studies in the world’s leading laboratory for eye imaging research in Rochester with Professor Bill Merigan and Professor David Williams, inventor of the adaptive optics ophthalmoscope.

“We will miss them both” said Professor Martin. “They were both great students and we are delighted to now send them off for postdoctoral studies which will help transform them into independent scientists. We will miss Kumiko’s excellent anatomical skills and Kenny’s keen physiological insights (not to mention his 3D-printed gizmos)”.

SSI’s Paul Martin and Ulrike Grünert appointed Chief Investigators in $20M Centre for Integrative Brain Function

Save Sight Institute researchers Professor Paul Martin and Associate Professor Ulrike Grünert have been appointed Chief Investigators in the $20 million ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function (CIBF).

Save Sight Institute researchers Professor Paul Martin and Associate Professor Ulrike Grünert have been appointed Chief Investigators in the $20 million ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function (CIBF). 

The Centre is tackling the challenging problems of understanding how the human brain works.

Combining techniques for analysing brain anatomy and physiology with advanced computational techniques, researchers at the Centre aim to uncover the fundamental principles of brain function. 

According to A/Prof Grünert “The retina is an accessible part of the brain, and its structure and function are relatively well understood. Now we can apply what we have learned about nerve cells in the retina to study the more complex structures in the brain. We can also learn how to apply new computational methods from brain science to understanding how the eye processes the visual scene before the nerve messages are sent to the brain”.

For more information on Prof Martin and A/Prof Grünert’s research please contact Save Sight Institute. 

For more information about the CIBF visit the website