Light not only allows us to see but also plays an evolutionarily ancient role in establishing circadian and diurnal rhythms in diverse aspects of our physiology and behaviour.
Manchester is an international centre of excellence for studying these sub-conscious impacts of light and the inner retinal (melanopsin) photoreceptors upon which they rely.
Our researchers are at the forefront of research into how light regulates physiology and behaviour, and the various ways in which melanopsin photoreceptors contribute both to such sub-conscious light responses and to aspects of vision. Key areas include:
- Defining how inner retinal photoreceptors help us to see.
- Understanding how light is employed by the internal circadian clock to retain synchrony with external time.
- Understanding the mechanisms by which the mammalian visual system influences aspects of physiological and behavioural state including arousal/alertness and autonomic and neuroendocrine activity.
Our work spans investigations in nocturnal and diurnal rodent models to studies in humans, employing a wide range of methodologies and including the development of new tools and approaches:
- Large scale multi-neuron recording and imaging, from ex vivo retina and brain slice to awake behaving animals.
- Opto- and chemogenetic analysis of neural circuit function and advanced neuroanatomical tracing methodologies.
- Whole animal behavioural and physiological measurements.