Themes and Projects (2005 - 2009)

Themes and Projects (2005 - 2009)


vision imageVision is our most highly developed sense, able to code the detail and expanse, the colour and shadow, the shape and movement, of the world around us. Correspondingly, it dominates large regions of the brain. Vision is the platform for a wide range of behaviours, from hunting to reading and face recognition. It is hardly surprising, then, that developments in robotics rely largely on advances in our understanding of the principles of visual processing in animals and humans. Because of its central role in human behaviour, loss of vision can be devastating – and this is becoming increasingly common as the population ages. Despite its relatively small population, Australia is fortunate in having an unusually strong and diverse pool of vision researchers. The Centre is assembling and focussing this talent, so as to pursue research in three related themes:

vision image

Projects in Theme 1 analyse the way that photoreceptors establish their exceptional sensitivity and speed, and their rapid adaptation to the ever-changing light environment, and also examine how the retina and brain process the information captured by the photoreceptors.

Projects in Theme 2 address such issues as the visual control of flight, and how nerve cells code and process complex visual information, so that visual input can control complex behaviour.

Projects in Theme 3 explore the cell biology of the eye, to identify how the retina and eye develop and remain stable through adulthood and why, in a range of diseases, their growth is abnormal or their stability fails, leading to disease (e.g. macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, pathological myopia).

Each theme is internally coherent, and about 20% of projects involve scientists from 2 or 3 themes, collaborating in cross-disciplinary ways to generate unique outcomes.


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