Andrew D. Huberman, Ph.D.

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Neurobiology
Institution
Stanford University
299 W. Campus Drive
City, State, Zip
Palo Alto, CA 94305
E-mail
adh1[at]stanford.edu
Website
http://www.hubermanlab.com
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2013

Research

All of our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors arise from the activity of neural circuits, precise connections between specific sets of cells. The purpose of our lab is to understand how neural circuits in the eye and brain are organized and function to allow visual perception, and how those circuits wire up during development. We also study how visual circuits can be repaired in response to blinding diseases, such as glaucoma. The primary focus of our developmental work is to understand the molecular determinants of axon-target recognition in the eye-to-brain pathway. The eye sends the brain a variety of signals about the content of the visual world such as information about motion, colors, or brightness. Each of those signals must arrive to the correct locations or targets in the brain for vision to occur. With the Pew award, I intend to determine how the neurons that inform the brain about the visual world, called retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), recognize and form connections with the correct targets and avoid incorrect ones. We plan to test the role of both adhesion and repellant molecular signaling in these processes. In addition, we will investigate whether direct interactions between different functional types of RGCs regulates the final outcome of axon-target matching. This work will increase our understanding of how the brain wires up and functions, and may have implications for developing regenerative therapies in neurodegenerative conditions in which specific sets of neurons have to be reconnected to specific targets to enable functional recovery.