Studying the retinal ganglion cells: Andrew Huberman
Our guest this month is Andrew Huberman, an assistant professor in the department of neurobiology at UCSD. Dr Huberman is interested in a classic question in development—how do the eyes connect to the brain? Cells known as retinal ganglia cells (RGCs) receive information from photoreceptors in the retina and carry this information to the brain. Connections from the left eye and right eye connect to the same part of the brain early on, but sort into two groups during maturation. Furthermore, different subtypes of RGCs respond to color, motion, and brightness and these subtypes target separate, designated regions of the brain. Andrew and his lab are exploring the mechanisms that guide the separation of different subtypes of RGCs during development. At the end of our interview, he explains the role of electrical activity and different genes in guiding the migration of these cells during development as well as how a course on the biology of behavior inspired him to pursue a career in neuroscience.