Our research focus is the link between the architecture of the human visual system and the functions of perception and attention.
The human visual system contains multiple streams of information that originate in distinct classes of retinal ganglion cells. These information streams remain disjoint in the subcortex, innervating for example the magnocellular and parvocellular layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and the superior colliculus, and become intermixed in the visual cortex. High-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the subcortex is the only way to directly access these information streams in humans.
We have been studying the effects of visual attention in human thalamic and midbrain structures such as the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and superior colliculus (SC) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Studying human subcortical nuclei yields unique insights but also presents a technical challenge. An important facet of the research is therefore methodological. Using high resolution imaging sequences, we have been able to measure unprecedented structural detail in the human subcortex, including retinotopy and the division of the magnocellular and parvocellular layers in the LGN. To improve the spatial resolution even further, we have been developing a technique to extract spatial information from the subjects' inadvertent head movements during fMRI experiments.