Alberto Cruz-Martín

PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
24 Cummington Mall

Assistant Professor of Biology, BU College of Arts & Sciences

Research Interests

A hallmark characteristic of sensory systems is that neurons in the periphery are tuned to detect specific features in our surroundings. As sensory information travels through the brain, downstream circuits combine it to generate richer, more elaborate representations of the world. My current research aims to define the neural pathways that feed the visual system and at understanding how this information is parsed and later combined to create a percept of our world. As an example, we recently discovered that several types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that are sensitive to directional motion feed the retino-geniculo cortical pathway via a specific di-synaptic circuit.

Our research combines methods such as genetic labeling of RGCs, rabies virus trans-synaptic circuit mapping and recordings of neural activity using genetically encoded calcium sensors and electrophysiological methods to understand these aims. Our long-term objective is to use the mouse visual system to bridge the gap between cellular and systems neuroscience to understand the contribution of specific cell types and their connections to visual processing and perception. Understanding the neuronal framework upon which the visual system is built will allow us to find treatments for neuronal networks that have gone awry, like in brain disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Cruz-Martín Laboratory Google Scholar

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