Christian Casanova, Ph.D. is interested in neuronal mechanisms underlying normal and physiopathological vision. His work primarily focuses on the role of the pulvinar and on corticothalamocortical pathways in visual processing, with a particular interest in motion analysis.
His team is trying to understand the functional consequences of retinal neuromodulators deprivation in contrast sensitivity, such as in the case of certain neurodegenerative diseases (ex: Parkinson's disease) and other diseases affecting more the visual function (ex: retinopathy of prematurity).
Dr. Casanova is
National Researcher of Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec.
After her training in the medical laboratory technical program at the Cégep de Sainte-Foy, she joined Dr. Casanova’s lab in 2001 as a lab technician. She works with the students and helps them on their research project, primarily on the histology section and the development of new protocols.
Olivia is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Casanova’s laboratory. She is interested in thalamocortical connectivity of the visual system, more specifically in the role of the pulvinar in corticothalamocortical pathways.
To study this network, she uses optical imaging of intrinsic signals as well as optical imaging through voltage sensitive dyes (VSD) while presenting specific visual stimuli. Prior to joining the lab, Olivia did her PhD at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, in the department of genetics where her main interest was the role of axon guidance molecules during the development of the thalamocortical system.
Nelson has been studying the visual system of vertebrates since doing a Masters in Neuroscience at the Universidad de Chile. Afterwards, Nelson moved to Paris, France, to do a Masters in Cognitive Science (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) and then a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience (Université Pierre Marie et Curie).
During his studies in France, he created a mathematical model that reproduces the interactions between the cortical visual hierarchy and the pulvinar. He stayed in France to do a first postdoctoral fellowship that mixed psychophysics experiments in depth visual perception (École Normale Supérieure) with retinal recordings of rat cells (Institute de la Vision, Paris). In the current lab, Nelson is testing whether his theoretical model predicts the functional interactions of the transthalamic pathway by the pulvinar.
Visou is interested in exploring and bridging the different levels of brain function. During his master’s degree he was trained in both single-channel patch-clamp techniques on cell cultures mutagenesis.
The focus of his Ph.D studies (Université Paris Descartes, France) was to demonstrate using acute slice electrophysiology and pharmacology techniques, that the activation of a metabotropic glutamate receptor could open the channel of the ionotropic GluD2 receptor in cerebellar Purkinje cells. He later combined electrophysiology techniques with two-photon microscopy and optogenetics to study cerebellar circuit development and cerebellar pathophysiology in a hereditary cerebellar ataxia mouse model. He has now joined our team to further characterize, in vivo, the modulation exerted by neurons from the pulvinar on those from primary and higher cortical visual areas, during visual processing.
After working with us for part of his MSc, Hugo integrated the laboratory as a PhD student in October 2019. His thesis, fundamentally multidisciplinary, is co-directed by Prof. Christian Casanova (UdeM, CA) and Dr. Laurent Perrinet (AMU, FR). Hugo is interested in understanding the activity of the primary visual cortex (V1) in response to 'natural' images, which form our daily visual experience.
More specifically, his project consists in recordings of V1 neurons with multi-electrodes and create computational models from these recordings. With these techniques, he seeks to understand how complex sensory environments drive complex V1 behaviour which still eludes our understanding.
Reza is a PhD student in vision science/neuroscience at the Université de Montréal. Before moving to Montreal, he studied optometry (BSc and MSc) at the Paris XI University in France. He joined the laboratory of Dr Casanova in 2010 during which he completed a Master's degree in clinical optometry and neuroscience.
His doctoral research focuses on the role of the pulvinar in visual function. Some of the techniques he uses in my projects include single cell electrophysiology, optical imaging of intrinsic signals, neuronal tracing, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy.
Bruno graduated in veterinary medicine at the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco in Brazil. Over the years, he grew a particular interest in vision and the pathologies associated with it in animals. During his master’s degree, he was interested on the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids on the morphology and physiology of the retina in animal model of the degeneration of photoreceptors.
Since September 2012, he is a PhD student in vision science with Drs. Christian Casanova and Frédéric Lesage codirecting his work. He is currently studying the role of the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus in the processing of visual information in the animal model. His research project is more fundamentally based on the contribution of extrastriated cortical areas towards the neuronal properties of the pulvinar. His work progresses through the use of classical techniques such as electrophysiology.
Bruno graduated with a B.Sc. in pharmacology at Université de Sherbrooke and with an MSc in vision science at the School of Optometry at Université de Montréal. His master thesis focused on the protein expression of several components of the endocannabinoid system in the rodent retina during postnatal development until adulthood.
He also studied the impact of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 on the retinal function. He is currently studying the impact of the endocannabinoid system on the survival and retinal function following an injury or a disease affecting the visual system.
Umit graduated from McGill University with a BSc in biology. He is currently a master’s student in vision science at the School of Optometry of Université de Montréal. He is interested in the functional impact of the LP (lateral posterior) thalamic nucleus on the primary visual cortex (V1) of the mouse.
Lamyae received her bachelor's degree in pharmacology and master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Clermont-Auvergne, France. She first joined the lab for a master's project, focusing on the primary visual cortex, and more specifically, using optogenetics and electrophysiology to study the influence of pulvinar in the control of visual cortex activities. After finishing her master's project in the summer, she joined the team as a PhD student in September 2020.
She is interested in the connectivity of the thalamic cortex of the visual system, and more specifically, using intrinsic optical imaging technology to study the role of the thalamus on the functional organization of the visual cortex through orientation and direction maps.