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Title: Modelling and analysis of Drosophila early visual system : a systems engineering approach
Author: Luna Ortiz, Carlos Ricardo
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 4600
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Over the past century or so Drosophila has been established as an ideal model organism to study, among other things, neural computation and in particular sensory processing. In this respect there are many features that make Drosophila an ideal model organism, especially the fact that it offers a vast amount of genetic and experimental tools for manipulating and interrogating neural circuits. Whilst comprehensive models of sensory processing in Drosophila are not yet available, considerable progress has been made in recent years in modelling the early stages of sensory processing. When it comes to visual processing, accurate empirical and biophysical models of the R1-R6 photoreceptors were developed and used to characterize nonlinear processing at photoreceptor level and to demonstrate that R1-R6 photoreceptors encode phase congruency. A limitation of the latest photoreceptor models is that these do not account explicitly for the modulation of photoreceptor responses by the network of interneurones hosted in the lamina. As a consequence, these models cannot describe in a unifying way the photoreceptor response in the absence of the feedback from the downstream neurons and thus cannot be used to elucidate the role of interneurones in photoreceptor adaptation. In this thesis, electrophysiological photoreceptor recordings acquired in-vivo from wild-type and histamine defficient mutant fruit flies are used to develop and validate new comprehensive models of R1-R6 photoreceptors, which not only predict the response of these photoreceptors in wild-type and mutant fruit flies, over the entire environmental range of light intensities but also characterize explicitly the contribution of lamina neurons to photoreceptor adaptation. As a consequence, the new models provide suitable building blocks for assembling a complete model of the retina which takes into account the true connectivity between photoreceptors and downstream interneurones. A recent study has demonstrated that R1-R6 photoreceptors employ nonlinear processing to selectively encode and enhance temporal phase congruency. It has been suggested that this processing strategy achieves an optimal trade-off between the two competing goals of minimizing distortion in decoding behaviourally relevant stimuli features and minimizing the information rate, which ultimately enables more efficient downstream processing of spatio-temporal visual stimuli for edge and motion detection. Using rigorous information theoretic tools, this thesis derives and analyzes the rate-distortion characteristics associated with the linear and nonlinear transformations performed by photoreceptors on a stimulus generated by a signal source with a well defined distribution.
Supervisor: Coca, Daniel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available