Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University of Colorado School of Medicine
RC1 North Tower, P18-7103
Mail Stop 8307
Aurora, CO 80045
Tel: (303) 724-4502
The Denman Lab is interested in how populations of neurons generate sensory perceptions. We use quantitative psychophysics, in vivo electrophysiology, in vivo imaging, circuit tracing, and computational methods to study the dynamics of populations of single neurons. We particularly focus on how neural interactions - within areas and distributed widely across the mammalian brain – represent, transmit, and transform information along the way to generating a perception. The interactions we probe span timescales from behavioral epochs (minutes) to non-linear neural integration (microseconds).
Our lab focuses on the neural mechanisms of visual perception. We use primary visual cortex (V1) as an organizing hub, investigating the circuit interactions within V1 microcircuits as well as interactions of V1 neurons with connected cortical and subcortical areas. Using physiological circuit-tracing, we seek to understand not just how information can be shaped in visual circuits, but what aspects of neural activity are *actually* used to generate perceptions. Using circuit-guided simultaneous high-density electrophysiology, we generate hypotheses for how neural dynamics relate to perception. Optogenetic and electrical manipulations allow us to causally test these hypotheses, to the extent that causality is a useful framework for understanding any neural function.
In addition to studying the distributed and circuit basis of visual perception, we maintain several neuroscience technique and methods development projects, generally focused on extracellular electrophysiology and systems engineering.
Jun JJ*, Steinmetz NA*, Siegle JH*, Denman DJ*, Bauza M*, Barbarits B*, Anastassiou CA, Andrei A, Aydin C, Barbic M, Blanche TJ, Bonin V, Carandini M, Couto J, Dutta B, Gratiy S, Gutnisky D, Harris KD, Häusser M, Karsh B, Koch C, Ledochowitsch P, Lee AK, Lopez CM, Mitelut C, Musa S, O’Keefe J, Okun M, Pachitariu M, Putzeys J, Rich PD, Rossant C, Sun W, Svoboda K, Harris TD (2017) Fully Integrated Silicon Probes for High-Density Recording of Neural Activity. Nature, 51: 232-236. *co-first author
Jia X, Siegle J, Bennett C, Gale S, Denman DJ, Koch CK, and Olsen SR. High-density extracellular probes reveal dendritic backpropagation and facilitate neuron classification. Journal of neurophysiology 121 (5), 1831-1847
Denman DJ, Luviano JA, Ollerenshaw DR, Cross S, Williams D, Buice MA, Olsen SR, and Reid RC (2018) Mouse color and wavelength-specific luminance contrast sensitivity are non-uniform across visual space. eLife 2018;7:e31209, doi: 10.7554/eLife.e31209
Denman DJ, Siegle JH, Koch C, Reid RC, Blanche TJ (2017) Spatial organization of chromatic pathways in the mouse dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(5): 1102-1116.
Denman DJ and Contreras D (2016) On Parallel Streams through the Mouse Dorsal Lateral Geniculate Nucleus. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 10:20.
Denman DJ and Contreras D (2015) Complex effects on in vivo visual responses by Specific Projections from Mouse Cortical Layer 6 to Dorsal Lateral Geniculate Nucleus. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(25): 9265-80.
Denman DJ and Contreras D (2014) The structure of pairwise correlation in mouse primary visual cortex reveals functional organization in the absence of an orientation map. Cerebral Cortex, 24(10): 2707-20.