Caltech Home > BBE Home > People > Markus Meister
open search form

Markus Meister

Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences; Executive Officer for Neurobiology
Contact information for Markus Meister
Contact Method Value
Mail Code: MC 216-76
Office: 301G Beckman Behavioral Biology
Phone: 626-395-1782

More Information

Dipl., Technische Universitat Munchen, 1980; Ph.D., Caltech, 1987. Moore Distinguished Scholar, Caltech, 2004; Professor, 2012-13; Hanson Professor, 2013-15; Biaggini Professor, 2015-; Executive Officer, 2017-.

Research Interests

My goal is to understand the function of neuronal circuits. By "circuit" I mean a brain structure with many neurons that has some anatomical and functional identity and exchanges signals with other brain circuits. Most of our work has focused on the retina and the olfactory bulb, with some explorations into the visual cortex and the insect antennal lobe.

Lab Website

Function of neuronal circuits

We explore how large circuits of nerve cells work. Ultimately we want to understand large nervous systems in the same way as we understand large electronic circuits. These days we primarily study the visual system, from processing in the retina to the circuits of the superior colliculus to the control of visually guided behaviors and perception. Here are some of the research questions that guide our explorations:

What visual information is encoded by the neurons in the circuit. This involves recording electrical signals from many neurons, while stimulating the retinal input with visual patterns. Interpreting the relationship between sensory input and neural output involves copious mathematical modeling.

How are these computations performed? For this we gain access to the innards of the circuit using fine electrodes or molecular tools. The ultimate goal here is to summarize the system's function with a neural circuit diagram that efficiently simulates its operation.

Why are the circuits built this way? Much of the structure and function of the early visual system is conserved from mouse to man and probably serves a common purpose. Perhaps to pack information efficiently into the optic nerve? Or to rapidly extract some signals that are essential for survival? To test these ideas we modify the neural circuits and monitor the resulting effects on visual behavior.


Selected Publications

Computing complex visual features with retinal spike times
Gütig R, Gollisch T, Sompolinsky H, Meister M (2013)
PLoS ONE 8: e53063.

Divergence of visual channels in the inner retina
Asari H, Meister M (2012)
Nat Neurosci 15: 1581-1589.

The most numerous ganglion cell type of the mouse retina is a selective feature detector
Zhang Y, Kim IJ, Sanes JR, Meister M (2012)
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109: E2391-8.

Decorrelation and efficient coding by retinal ganglion cells
Pitkow, X, & Meister, M (2012)
Nat. Neurosci. 15:628-635.

Age-related alterations in neurons of the mouse retina
Samuel, MA, Zhang, Y, Meister, M, & Sanes, JR (2011)
J. Neurosci. 31:16033–16044.

The projective field of a retinal amacrine cell
de Vries, SE, Baccus, SA, Meister, M (2011)
J. Neurosci. 31:8595–8604.

Retinal ganglion cells with distinct directional preferences differ in molecular identity, structure, and central projections
Kay, JN, De la Huerta, I, Kim, IJ, Zhang, Y, Yamagata, M, Chu, MW, Meister, M, Sanes, JR (2011)
J. Neurosci. 31:7753–7762.

A wireless multi-channel neural amplifier for freely moving animals
Szuts, TA, Fadeyev, V, Kachiguine, S, Sher, A, Grivich, MV, Agrochao, M, Hottowy, P, Dabrowski, W, Lubenov, EV, Siapas, AG, Uchida, N, Litke, AM, Meister, M (2011)
Nat. Neurosci. 14:263–269.

Bayesian model of dynamic image stabilization in the visual system
Burak, Y., Rokni, U., Meister, M., and Sompolinsky, H. (2010)
PNAS 107:19525–19530.

Eye smarter than scientists believed: Neural computations in circuits of the retina
Gollisch, T., and Meister, M. (2010)
Neuron 65:150-164.

Laminar restriction of retinal ganglion cell dendrites and axons: Subtype-specific developmental patterns revealed with transgenic markers
Kim, I. J., Zhang, Y., Meister, M., and Sanes, J. R. (2010)
J Neurosci 30:1452-1462.

Neural encoding of rapidly fluctuating odors
Geffen, M. N., Broome, B. M., Laurent, G., and Meister, M. (2009)
Neuron 61:570-586.

Precision and diversity in an odor map on the olfactory bulb
Soucy, E. R., Albeanu, D. F., Fantana, A. L., Murthy, V. N., and Meister, M. (2009)
Nature Neuroscience 12:210-220. doi:10.1038/nn.2262.

Gamma-Protocadherins regulate neuronal survival but are dispensable for circuit formation in retina
Lefebvre, J. L., Zhang, Y., Meister, M., Wang, X., and Sanes, J. R. (2008)
Development 135:4141-4151.

Modeling convergent ON and OFF pathways in the early visual system
Gollisch, T., and Meister, M. (2008)
Biol Cybern 99, 263-278.

Rat olfactory bulb mitral cells receive sparse glomerular inputs
Fantana, A. L., Soucy, E. R., and Meister, M. (2008)
Neuron 59, 802-814.

A retinal circuit that computes object motion
Baccus, S. A., Olveczky, B. P., Manu, M., and Meister, M. (2008)
J Neurosci 28, 6807-6817.

LED arrays as cost effective and efficient light sources for widefield microscopy
Albeanu, D. F., Soucy, E., Sato, T. F., Meister, M., and Murthy, V. N. (2008)
PLoS ONE 3, e2146. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002146.

Molecular identification of a retinal cell type that responds to upward motion
Kim, I. J., Y. Zhang, M. Yamagata, M. Meister, and J. R. Sanes (2008)
Nature 452:478-482.

Rapid neural coding in the retina with relative spike latencies
Gollisch, T., and Meister, M. (2008)
Science 319:1108-1111.

A neural computation for visual acuity in the presence of eye movements
Pitkow, X., Sompolinsky, H., & Meister, M. (2007)
PLoS Biol. 5(12):e331.

Retinal adaptation to object motion
Olveczky, B. P., Baccus, S. A., & Meister, M. (2007)
Neuron 56:689-700.

Local retinal circuits of melanopsin-containing ganglion cells identified by transsynaptic viral tracing
Viney, T. J., K. Balint, D. Hillier, S. Siegert, Z. Boldogkoi, L. W. Enquist, M. Meister, C. L. Cepko, and B. Roska (2007)
Current Biology 17:981-988.

Retinal ganglion cells can rapidly change polarity from Off to On
Geffen, M. N., S. E. J. de Vries, and M. Meister (2007)
PLoS Biology 5:e65.

Dynamic predictive coding by the retina
Hosoya, T., S. A. Baccus, and M. Meister (2005)
Nature 436:71-77.

Retina versus cortex; contrast adaptation in parallel visual pathways
Baccus, S. A., and M. Meister (2004)
Neuron 42:5-7.

Genetically engineered mice with an additional class of cone photoreceptors: Implications for the evolution of color vision
Smallwood, P. M., B. P. Olveczky, G. L. Williams, G. H. Jacobs, B. E. Reese, M. Meister, and J. Nathans (2003)
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 100:11706-11711.

Segregation of object and background motion in the retina
Olveczky, B. P., S. A. Baccus, and M. Meister (2003)
Nature. 423:401-408.

Multineuronal firing patterns in the signal from eye to brain
Schnitzer, M. J., and M. Meister (2003)
Neuron. 37:499-511.

Fast and slow contrast adaptation in retinal circuitry
Baccus, S. A., and M. Meister (2002)
Neuron. 36:909-19.

Loss of sex discrimination and male-male aggression in mice deficient for TRP2
Stowers, L., T. E. Holy, M. Meister, C. Dulac, and G. Koentges (2002)
Science. 295:1493-500.

Predicting every spike: a model for the responses of visual neurons
Keat, J., P. Reinagel, R. C. Reid, and M. Meister (2001)
Neuron 30:803-17.

Tuning and topography in an odor map on the rat olfactory bulb
Meister M, Bonhoeffer T (2001)
J. Neurosci. 21:1351-1360.

Responses of vomeronasal neurons to natural stimuli
Holy TE, Dulac C, Meister M (2000)
Science. 289:1569-72.

The neural code of the retina
Meister M, Berry MJ (1999)
Neuron. 22:435-450.

Anticipation of moving stimuli by the retina
Berry MJ, Brivanlou IH, Jordan TA, Meister M (1999)
Nature. 398:334-338.

How to measure the information gained from one symbol
DeWeese MR, Meister M (1999)
Network 10: 325-340.

Mechanisms of concerted firing among retinal ganglion cells
Brivanlou IH, Warland DK, Meister M (1998)
Neuron. 20:527-539.

Refractoriness and neural precision
Berry MJ, Meister M (1998)
J. Neurosci. 18(6): 2200-2211.

Synchronous period doubling in flicker vision of salamander and man
Crevier DW, Meister M (1998)
J. Neurophysiol. 79:1869-1878.

A novel signaling pathway from rod photoreceptors to ganglion cells in mammalian retina
Soucy E, Wang Y, Nirenberg S, Nathans J, Meister M (1998)
Neuron. 21: 481-493.

The structure and precision of retinal spike trains
Berry MJ, Warland DK, Meister M (1997)
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 94: 5411-5416.

The light response of retinal ganglion cells is truncated by a displaced amacrine circuit
Nirenberg S, Meister M (1997)
Neuron. 18: 637-650.

Adaptation of Retinal Processing to Image Contrast and Spatial Scale
Smirnakis, S. M., M. J. Berry, D. K. Warland, W. Bialek, and M. Meister (1997)
Nature. 386:69-73.

Decoding visual information from a population of retinal ganglion cells
Warland D, Reinagel P, Meister M (1997)
J. Neurophysiol. 78: 2336-2350.

Multineuronal codes in retinal signaling
Meister M (1996)
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 93: 609-614.

Individual Neurons Dissociated from Rat Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Express Independently Phased Circadian Firing Rhythms
Welsh, D. K., D. E. Logothetis, M. Meister, and S. M. Reppert (1995)
Neuron. 14:697-706.

Concerted Signaling by Retinal Ganglion Cells
Meister M, Lagnado L, Baylor DA (1995)
Science. 270:1207-1210.

Multineuronal signals from the retina: acquisition and analysis
Meister, M., J. Pine, and D. A. Baylor (1994)
J. Neuroscience Methods. 51:95-106.

Transient period of correlated bursting activity during development of the mammalian retina
Wong, R. O. L., M. Meister,, and C. J. Shatz (1993)
Neuron. 11:923-938.

Synchronous Bursts of Action Potentials in Ganglion Cells of the Developing Mammalian Retina
Meister, M., R. O. L. Wong, C. J. Shatz, and D. A. Baylor (1991)
Science 252: 939-943.

The retinal readout array
Litke, A., and M. Meister (1991)
Nuclear Instr. Meth. Physics Res. A310:389-394.

Visual transduction in cones of the monkey Macaca fascicularis
Schnapf, J. L., B. J. Nunn, M. Meister, and D. A. Baylor (1990)
Journal of Physiology. 427:681-713.