Markus Meister

Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
Harvard University
Biological Laboratories, Room 4027
16 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

tel: (617) 496-8302; fax: (617) 495-9300
email: meister@fas.harvard.edu
Web: rhino.harvard.edu

Current Research Projects

My goal is to understand the function of neuronal circuits. By "circuit" I mean a brain structure with many neurons that has some anatomical and functional identity, and exchanges signals with other brain circuits. Most of our work has focused on the retina and the olfactory bulb, with some explorations into the visual cortex and the insect antennal lobe.

To my mind, success in understanding a neural circuit will require that we do the following: (1) Identify the computation performed by this part of the brain. How are the outputs related to the inputs? (2) Spell out the mechanism behind this computation. How do the neurons and synapses within the circuit actually perform the computation? (3) Explain how this circuit fits into the larger brain. What is the purpose of this computation in the control of the animal's behavior? Part (1) finds the interesting phenomena that occur at the systems level, part (2) connects these phenomena to the lower level of organization involving single neurons, and part (3) to the higher level of organization involving brain and behavior.

For specific research projects, and all our publications, see the lab's web page http://www.mcb.harvard.edu/labs/meister/

Selected Publications:

Hosoya, T., S.A. Baccus, and M. Meister (2005). Dynamic predictive coding by the retina. Nature 436: 71-77.

Pitkow, X., Sompolinsky, H., & Meister, M. (2007). A neural computation for visual acuity in the presence of eye movements. PLoS Biol. 5(12): e331.

Baccus, S. A., Ölveczky, B. P., Manu, M., and Meister, M. (2008). A retinal circuit that computes object motion. J. Neurosci. 28: 6807-6817.

Kim, I., Y. Zhang, Y., M. Yamagata, M. Meister, and J. R. Sanes (2008). Molecular identification of a retinal cell type that responds to upward motion. Nature 452: 478-482.

Gollisch, T., and Meister, M. (2008). Rapid neural coding in the retina with relative spike latencies. Science 319: 1108-1111.

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