Visual plasticity in the developing and adult brain is still a highly debated phenomenon. Here we address visual reorganization in genetically determined human models of visual plasticity, either due to ganglion cell or photoreceptor loss, using structural and functional techniques. We also investigate factors determining whether neural plasticity might or not occur in these models. We then investigate whether the temporal determinants of visual plasticity can also be generalized to other neural systems, both in humans and animals, and the role of changed visual experience. Finally we address low high and level forms of plasticity in neurodevelopmental disorders in the autism spectrum and forms of rehabilitation based on neurostimulation, brain computer interfaces and neurofeedback.
Miguel Castelo-Branco did his PhD at Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, and has been a Professor at the Universities of Maastricht, the Netherlands and Coimbra, Portugal. He has provided multiple contributions in basic and clinical visual neuroscience. He was the first to perform simultaneous recordings in the retina, thalamus and visual cortex in mammals and showed distinct origins of oscillations at multiple levels. He addressed temporal dynamics of perceptual decision mechanisms using simultaneous EEG/fMRI. He discovered neurodevelopmental mechanisms of disease and plasticity in human genetic models in the autism spectrum. He identified visual biomarkers in Alzheimer/Parkinson’s Disease, using approaches combining retinal and cortical neurophysiology and functional/molecular imaging. He was the first to demonstrate visual plasticity in genetically determined peripheral visual field loss. He doing interdisciplinary work in autism research combining cognitive neuroscience and neuroengineering.
Dr. Castelo-Branco has been involved in major International grants related to preclinical and clinical research (including clinical trials involving drug therapies), including H2020 European projects involving companies (SME-RadICAL), and the IMI2-EU AIMS H2020 innovative medicines initiative. He has been involved in “spin-off” initiatives and entrepreneurial consortia between academia and the industry.