The Bourne Group are focused on visual neuroscience with a particular emphasis on development, plasticity and repair following injury.
The group is interested in the pathways, mechanisms and factors, at both a cellular and system level, that underlie how the brain processes our rich visual environment.
Cell-to-system approach provides great insights as to how the primate visual cortex has evolved to possess over multiple functionally unique areas, each with clearly defined boundaries.
The group has begun to understand the mechanism of neuroplasticity in the developing visual brain and how this innate plasticity could aid rehabilitation from a brain injury.
To this end, model of stroke in the visual cortex of a nonhuman primate brain has been developed. The model provides insight into the mechanisms by which the neocortex, a part of the brain that contains the visual cortex, lacks the capacity to repair or regenerate itself, especially in later life.
A diverse range of techniques is employed to tackle the many questions that are being addressed. The cellular aspect of our studies includes using cultures of cells and organ tissues, in situ hybridisation, and RNA expression profiling.
The knowledge garnered of the cellular level mechanisms explains how they translate to the function of the visual system. To investigate at the system level, anatomical tracing is routinely undertaken, live in vivo imaging, electrophysiology, MRI imaging of neural pathways, and behavioural studies.
Further understanding of visual system neurobiology will identify mechanisms that are relevant, not only for normal brain visual function but for possible future repair and functional recovery of adult brains following an injury.