Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Ralf Wessel


Visual information is processed in brain via the intricate interactions between neurons. We investigated a midbrain visual pathway: optic tectum and its isthmic nucleus) that is motion sensitive and is thought as part of attentional system. We determined the physiological properties of individual neurons as well as their synaptic connections with intracellular recordings. We reproduced the center-surround receptive field structure of tectal neurons in a dynamical recurrent feedback loop. We reveal in a computational model that the anti-topographic inhibitory feedback could mediate competitive stimulus selection in a complex visual scene. We also investigated the dynamics of the competitive selection in a rate model. The isthmotectal feedback loop gates the information transfer from tectum to thalamic rotundus. We discussed the role of a localized feedback projection in contributing to the gating mechanisms with both experimental and numerical approaches. We further discussed the dynamics of the isthmotectal system by considering the propagation delays between different components. We conclude that the isthmotectal system is involved in attention-like competitive stimulus selection and control the information coding in the motion sensitive SGC-I neurons by modulating the retino-tectal synaptic transmission.


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