My work focuses on the neural control of eye movement, cerebellar motor learning and retinal signal processing in health and disease:
Cerebellar control of reflex eye movements
In the MotionLAB, I study the interaction of visual and vestibular signals that drive image stabilizing eye movements. Visual motion, detected at the level of the retina, elicits the optokinetic reflex (OKR) that moves the eyes into the direction of the visual motion. Head movement detected by the vestibular system elicits the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) that moves the eyes into the direction opposite to the head movement. Both reflexes act in tandem and are highly adaptive. Because this adaptation is controlled by the cerebellum, we use the plasticity of the VOR and OKR as a proxy for cerebellar learning.
Congenital Stationary Night Blindness and Infantile Nystagmus
In collaboration with the Retinal Signal Processing group (prof. dr. Maarten Kamermans), I study eye movements in mouse models for congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB). Many CSNB patients suffer from a congenital form of pathological nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), which can severely affect vision. The aim is to unravel the mechanism that generates this form of nystagmus and pave the way for the development of therapeutic interventions.
In collaboration with the department of Ophthalmology and Epidemiology at the Erasmus MC Rotterdam (prof. dr. Caroline Klaver), I founded the Myopia-lab, where we study the development of myopia in mouse models. Myopia (or nearsightedness) is globally increasing in prevalence, which is likely related to changes in lifestyle. Our study tries to identify genetic and environmental factors that trigger myopia or increase myopia susceptibility.