European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Sensory imaging and multi-modal integration

Final Activity Report Summary - MERGING OF SENSES (Sensory imaging and multimodal integration)

By aid of the financial contribution to my research I was able to set up a new line of research in the host institution. One major step in this process was the implementation of a new data acquisition that allows the simultaneous acquisition of neuronal data and visual stimulation. This important keystone was made possible by help of the former host-lab of the MC-Individual Fellowship, stressing the importance of mobility and collaborations.

We obtained first physiological recordings in the visual system of the electric fish, Gnathonemus petersii, and these confirm the initial hypothesis that was put forward in the initial grant application, i.e. that the visual and electrosensorial sensory information are being merged at the level of the first stage of visual processing, the tectum opticum (TO).

These physiological experiments are being supplemented by anatomical tracing studies and similar experiments at the level of the nucleus lateralis of the electrosensory system. These tracing studies show that the retina of electric fish are highly specialised in a so-called grouped retina and we are currently investigating the functional relevance of this type of retina using physiological and behavioural as well as histochemical approaches within a newly established multi-disciplinary group. We could show that this unique retina, in addition to its high convergence, also contains electrical synapses. How these sculpture the retinal function will be part of the future research projects. We focus especially on the question which mechanisms govern the merging of two very different sensory systems, the visual and the electrical system. To show how this kind of merging can be achieved both anatomically and physiologically will be of interest to a wider part of the scientific community, including computational neuroscientists and robotic engineering.

Within the research pursued, several new lines of research and co operations were established. These co operations have broadened the applicant's scientific skills in anatomy and basic genetic sciences. Another important step was the possibility to employ a PhD-student who is currently working on several aspects of the project. This increased my teaching and supervision capabilities, a factor of high importance for my future career witin the German university system.

In summary the Reintegration grant has made it possible to establish a new line of research that will help the Fellow in the course of his futur career, the initial results obtained within the report-period are the base for a grant application we recently submitted to establish a long-term project that will enable me to obtain my "Habilitation".