Professor Simon Laughlin

Simon Laughlin

University position

Professor

Professor Simon Laughlin is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Departments

Department of Zoology

Email

SL104@cam.ac.uk

Home page

http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/zoostaf...

Research Themes

Systems and Computational Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Interests

Our group is interested in discovering design principles that govern the structure and function of neurons and neural circuits. We record from well-defined neurons, mainly in flies’ visual systems, to measure the molecular and cellular factors that determine relevant measures of performance, such as representational capacity, dynamic range and accuracy. We combine this empirical approach with modelling to see how the basic elements of neural systems (ion channels, second messengers systems, membranes, synapses, neurons, circuits and codes) combine to determine performance. We are investigating four general problems. How are circuits designed to integrate information efficiently? How do sensory adaptation and synaptic plasticity contribute to efficiency? How do the sizes of neurons and networks relate to energy consumption and representational capacity? To what extent have energy costs shaped neurons, sense organs and brain regions during evolution?

The high perfromance visual system of the blowfly provides unique insights into neural circuit design
The high performance visual system of the blowfly provides unique insights into neural circuit design
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Research Focus

Keywords

circuit design

information processing

coding

energy

neural circuit

Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance

Equipment

Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Electrophysiological recording techniques

High speed video

Information theory

Intracellular recording

Natural scene statistics

Noise analysis

Stochastic modelling

Collaborators

United Kingdom

Holger Krapp Web: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/...

Jeremy Niven Web: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci...

International

Peter Sterling Web: http://retina.anatomy.upenn.edu/peter.html

Matti Weckström Web: http://cc.oulu.fi/~mtw/in...

Associated News Items


    Key publications

    Sengupta B, Laughlin SB, Niven JE (2014), “Consequences of Converting Graded to Action Potentials upon Neural Information Coding and Energy Efficiency.” PLoS Comput Biol 10(1):e1003439 Details

    Weckström M, Laughlin, S (2010), “Extracellular potentials modify the transfer of information at photoreceptor output synapses in the blowfly compound eye.” Journal of Neuroscience 30(28): 9557-9566

    Niven JE, Anderson JC, Laughlin SB (2007), “Fly photoreceptors demonstrate energy-information trade-offs in neural coding” PLoS Biology 5(4): e116doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050116 Details

    Faisal AA, White JA, Laughlin SB (2005), “Ion-channel noise places limits on the miniaturization of the brain's wiring” Current Biology 15:1143-1149 Details

    Attwell D, Laughlin SB (2001), “An energy budget for signalling in the grey matter of the brain” Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 21:1133-1145

    Harris RA, O'Carroll DC, Laughlin SB (2000), “Contrast gain reduction in fly motion adaptation.” Neuron 28(2):595-606 Details

    Laughlin SB, de Ruyter van Steveninck RR, Anderson JC (1998), “The metabolic cost of neural information.” Nat Neurosci 1(1):36-41 Details

    O'Carroll DC, Bidwell NJ, Laughlin SB, Warrant EJ (1996), “Insect motion detectors matched to visual ecology.” Nature 382(6586):63-6 Details

    Howard J, Blakeslee B, Laughlin SB (1987), “The intracellular pupil mechanism and photoreceptor signal: noise ratios in the fly Lucilia cuprina.” Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 231(1265):415-35 Details

    Laughlin SB, Howard J, Blakeslee B (1987), “Synaptic limitations to contrast coding in the retina of the blowfly Calliphora.” Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 231(1265):437-67 Details

    Srinivasan MV, Laughlin SB, Dubs A (1982), “Predictive coding: a fresh view of inhibition in the retina.” Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 216(1205):427-59 Details

    Laughlin S (1981), “A simple coding procedure enhances a neuron's information capacity.” Z Naturforsch C 36(9-10):910-2 Details

    Snyder AW, Laughlin SB, Stavenga DG (1977), “Information capacity of eyes.” Vision Res 17(10):1163-75 Details

    Publications

    2013

    Sengupta B, Faisal AA, Laughlin SB and Niven JE (2013), “The effect of cell size and channel density on neuronal information encoding and energy efficiency. ” J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 9: 1465–1473

    Sengupta B, Faisal AA, Laughlin SB, Niven JE (2013), “The effect of cell size and channel density on neuronal information encoding and energy efficiency.” J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 33(9):1465-73 Details

    Sengupta B, Laughlin SB and Niven JE. (2013), “Balanced excitatory and inhibitory synaptic currents promote efficient coding and metabolic efficiency” PLoS Comput Biol 9(10): e1003263

    Sengupta B, Laughlin SB, Niven JE (2013), “Balanced excitatory and inhibitory synaptic currents promote efficient coding and metabolic efficiency.” PLoS Comput Biol 9(10):e1003263 Details

    2010

    Fain GL, Hardie R, Laughlin SB (2010), “Phototransduction and the evolution of photoreceptors.” Curr Biol 20(3):R114-24 Details

    Niven JE, Buckingham CJ, Lumley S, Cuttle MF, Laughlin SB (2010), “Visual targeting of forelimbs in ladder-walking locusts.” Curr Biol 20(1):86-91 Details

    Parsons MM, Krapp HG, Laughlin SB (2010), “Sensor fusion in identified visual interneurons.” Curr Biol 20(7):624-8 Details

    Sengupta B, Laughlin SB, Niven JE (2010), “Comparison of Langevin and Markov channel noise models for neuronal signal generation.” Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 81(1 Pt 1):011918 Details

    Sengupta B, Stemmler M, Laughlin SB, Niven JE (2010), “Action potential energy efficiency varies among neuron types in vertebrates and invertebrates.” PLoS Comput Biol 6:e1000840 Details

    Weckström M, Laughlin S (2010), “Extracellular potentials modify the transfer of information at photoreceptor output synapses in the blowfly compound eye.” J Neurosci 30(28):9557-66 Details

    2008

    Niven JE, Laughlin SB (2008), “Energy limitation as a selective pressure on the evolution of sensory systems.” J Exp Biol 211(Pt 11):1792-804 Details

    Okawa H, Sampath AP, Laughlin SB, Fain GL (2008), “ATP consumption by mammalian rod photoreceptors in darkness and in light.” Curr Biol 18(24):1917-21 Details

    2007

    Faisal AA, Laughlin SB (2007), “Stochastic simulations on the reliability of action potential propagation in thin axons.” PLoS Comput Biol 3(5):e79 Details

    Nawroth JC, Greer CA, Chen WR, Laughlin SB, Shepherd GM (2007), “An energy budget for the olfactory glomerulus.” J Neurosci 27(36):9790-800 Details

    2006

    Parsons MM, Krapp HG, Laughlin SB (2006), “A motion-sensitive neurone responds to signals from the two visual systems of the blowfly, the compound eyes and ocelli.” J Exp Biol 209(Pt 22):4464-74 Details

    2005

    Neri P, Laughlin SB (2005), “Global versus local adaptation in fly motion-sensitive neurons.” Proc Biol Sci 272(1578):2243-9 Details

    Tan S, Amos W, Laughlin SB (2005), “Captivity selects for smaller eyes.” Curr Biol 15(14):R540-2 Details

    2003

    Burton BG, Laughlin SB (2003), “Neural images of pursuit targets in the photoreceptor arrays of male and female houseflies Musca domestica.” J Exp Biol 206(Pt 22):3963-77 Details

    Laughlin SB, Sejnowski TJ (2003), “Communication in neuronal networks.” Science 301(5641):1870-4 Details

    2002

    Laughlin SB (2002), “Retinal function: coupling cones clarifies vision.” Curr Biol 12(24):R833-4 Details

    Schreiber S, Machens CK, Herz AV, Laughlin SB (2002), “Energy-efficient coding with discrete stochastic events.” Neural Comput 14(6):1323-46 Details

    2001

    Burton BG, Tatler BW, Laughlin SB (2001), “Variations in photoreceptor response dynamics across the fly retina.” J Neurophysiol 86(2):950-60 Details

    Dror RO, O'Carroll DC, Laughlin SB (2001), “Accuracy of velocity estimation by Reichardt correlators.” J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis 18(2):241-52 Details

    Laughlin SB (2001), “Energy as a constraint on the coding and processing of sensory information.” Curr Opin Neurobiol 11(4):475-80 Details

    Laughlin SB (2001), “Efficiency and complexity in neural coding.” Novartis Found Symp 239:177-87; discussion 187-92, 234-40 Details

    Vorobyev M, Brandt R, Peitsch D, Laughlin SB, Menzel R (2001), “Colour thresholds and receptor noise: behaviour and physiology compared.” Vision Res 41(5):639-53 Details

    2000

    Anderson JC, Laughlin SB (2000), “Photoreceptor performance and the co-ordination of achromatic and chromatic inputs in the fly visual system.” Vision Res 40(1):13-31 Details

    Hornstein EP, O'Carroll DC, Anderson JC, Laughlin SB (2000), “Sexual dimorphism matches photoreceptor performance to behavioural requirements.” Proc Biol Sci 267(1457):2111-7 Details

    Tatler B, O'Carroll DC, Laughlin SB (2000), “Temperature and the temporal resolving power of fly photoreceptors.” J Comp Physiol A 186(4):399-407 Details

    1999

    Harris RA, O'Carroll DC, Laughlin SB (1999), “Adaptation and the temporal delay filter of fly motion detectors.” Vision Res 39(16):2603-13 Details

    Laughlin SB (1999), “Visual motion: dendritic integration makes sense of the world.” Curr Biol 9(1):R15-7 Details

    1997

    O'Carroll DC, Laughlin SB, Bidwell NJ, Harris RA (1997), “Spatio-temporal properties of motion detectors matched to low image velocities in hovering insects.” Vision Res 37(23):3427-39 Details

    1996

    de Ruyter van Steveninck RR, Laughlin SB (1996), “Light adaptation and reliability in blowfly photoreceptors.” Int J Neural Syst 7(4):437-44 Details

    Laughlin SB (1996), “Matched filtering by a photoreceptor membrane.” Vision Res 36(11):1529-41 Details

    1995

    Weckström M, Laughlin SB (1995), “Visual ecology and voltage-gated ion channels in insect photoreceptors.” Trends Neurosci 18(1):17-21 Details

    1992

    Laughlin SB (1992), “Retinal information capacity and the function of the pupil.” Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 12(2):161-4 Details

    1991

    Hardie RC, Voss D, Pongs O, Laughlin SB (1991), “Novel potassium channels encoded by the Shaker locus in Drosophila photoreceptors.” Neuron 6(3):477-86 Details

    Weckström M, Hardie RC, Laughlin SB (1991), “Voltage-activated potassium channels in blowfly photoreceptors and their role in light adaptation.” J Physiol 440:635-57 Details

    1990

    van Hateren JH, Laughlin SB (1990), “Membrane parameters, signal transmission, and the design of a graded potential neuron.” J Comp Physiol A 166(4):437-48 Details

    1989

    Laughlin SB (1989), “The role of sensory adaptation in the retina.” J Exp Biol 146:39-62 Details

    1983

    Miller WH, Laughlin SB (1983), “Light-mediated cyclic GMP hydrolysis controls important aspects of kinetics of retinal rod voltage response.” Biophys Struct Mech 9(4):269-76 Details

    1982

    Laughlin SB, Lillywhite PG (1982), “Intrinsic noise in locust photoreceptors.” J Physiol 332:25-45 Details

    1981

    Dubs A, Laughlin SB, Srinivasan MV (1981), “Single photon signals in fly photoreceptors and first order interneurones at behavioral threshold.” J Physiol 317:317-34 Details

    1979

    Lillywhite PG, Laughlin SB (1979), “Transducer noise in a photoreceptor.” Nature 277(5697):569-72 Details

    1978

    Laughlin S, McGinness S (1978), “The structures of dorsal and ventral regions of a dragonfly retina.” Cell Tissue Res 188(3):427-47 Details

    1975

    Laughlin SB (1975), “Receptor and interneuron light-adaptation in the dragonfly visual system.” Z Naturforsch C 30(2):306-8 Details

    1974

    Laughlin SB (1974), “Resistance changes associated with the response of insect monopolar neurons.” Z Naturforsch C 29(7-8):449-50 Details