I was trained in biology with a minor in physics and received a cum laude Masters degree in Biology. I did my PhD in the laboratory of Medical Physics in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Amsterdam and my postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley with Frank Werblin. I received the prestigious KNAW-fellowship after my return to the Netherlands. This allowed me to establish the Retinal Signal Processing lab which was initially located in the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute (NORI) and later moved to the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) of the KNAW.
The theme leading my research is: Form Light Detection to Vision. The photoreceptors are the light sensitive neurons in the retina. They detect light. However, vision is much more than just detecting light. The image falling onto the retina needs a lot of processing before it can be percieved. This processing starts in the retina. The retina is a highly sofisticated image analysis device. It selects and compresses relevant information in a scene before it is send to the brain. I am facinated by the elegance of these processing steps. Resolving the functioning of the retina and using this fundamental knowlegde to develope strategies to help blind people motivates me enormously.
I am a professor in Neurophysiology specialized in Sensory Physiology at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). My ~60 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, including Science, Neuron, PLoS Biology and American journal of Human Genetics, have been widely cited in the field. My exploration of the visual sensory system is characterized by a highly multidisciplinary approach and often with a strong quantitative signature. This is reflected in the composition of The Retinal Signal Processing lab, which is fully staffed and equipped for this broad approach, ranging from genetics/molecular biology, morphology to single cell electrophysiology/vital imaging information theory and behavior.