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Prof. Dr. Thomas Euler

Organization: Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience


Otfried-Müller-Str. 25
72076 Tübingen

Phone number: +49 (0)7071 29 85028

Department: Centre for Ophthalmology, Institute for Ophthalmic Research

Position: Head of Research Group

Area: CIN Staff, Board

Scientific topic: Retinal signal processing

Field of Research

Visual information processing starts in the retina, which not only converts the incoming stream of photons into electrical signals, but also performs a first analysis of the observed scene. Therefore, the retina can be considered a highly specialized and sophisticated image processor. Because the optic nerve that connects the retina to the higher visual centers in the brain represents a bottle neck, the retina’s task is to extract important information (e.g. contrast, brightness, „color”, edges, motion and its direction, edges and trajectories of potential objects, etc.) and discard the rest. The importance of retinal signal processing is highlighted by the fact that this important decision – what information is relevant and therefore kept, and what can be safely discarded – is made already in the retina. The computational capabilities of its intricate but highly defined neuronal network rely on about 70 types of neurons organized in various interconnected microcircuits. Our work aims at unraveling function and organization of retinal microcircuits towards a better understanding of the underlying computational principles. Furthermore, we are interested in the mechanisms that implement retinal microcircuits during development and how microcircuits change in retinal degeneration.


We use electrophysiological and optical techniques to record light-driven activity – from the subcellular to the population level – in neurons of all retinal layers. Our cornerstone technique is two-photon microscopy, which enables us to excite fluorescent probes within the tissue using infrared laser light. This avoids bleaching of the extremely light-sensitive pigment in the photoreceptors and therefore allows recording of optical activity in intact retinal tissue while simultaneously stimulating with light patterns. We make use of a number of transgenic mouse lines that express genetically-encoded fluorescent markers or biosensors in specific types of retinal neurons. To broaden our spectrum, we also started to use an AAV-based viral approach to transfer biosensors into selected neurons. In addition, we employ immunocytochemical methods to supplement our functional findings with anatomical data.


developmental neurobiology; molecular & cellular neurobiology; neuro-physiology; neuronal computations; retina; sensory system; visual system


(selected from past 5 years)

  1. Wei T., Schubert T., Paquet-Durand F., Tanimoto N., Chang L., Koeppen K., Ott T., Griesbeck O., Seeliger M., Euler T.*, Wissinger B. (2012) Light-Driven Calcium Signals in Mouse Cone Photoreceptors. J Neurosci 32(20): 6981-6994.
  2. Auferkorte O.N.A., Baden T., Kaushalya S.K., Zabouri N., Rudolph U., Haverkamp S., Euler T. (2012). Direction-Selective Inhibition in the Retina relies on a Single Type of GABA Receptor Subunit, PLoS ONE 7(4): e35109.
  3. Tanimoto A., Sothilingam V., Euler T., Ruth P., Seeliger M.W., Schubert S. (2012). BK Channels Mediate Pathway-Specific Modulation of Visual Signals in the In Vivo Mouse Retina. J Neurosci 32(14):4861–4866.
  4. Borst A., Euler T. (2011) Seeing Things in Motion: Models, Circuits, and Mechanisms Neuron 71(6):974-994
  5. Breuninger T., Puller C., Haverkamp S., Euler T. (2011) Chromatic Bipolar Cell Pathways in the Mouse Retina. J Neurosci 31(17):6504–6517
  6. Briggman K. L., Euler T. (2011) Bulk electroporation and population calcium imaging in the adult mammalian retina. J Neurophysiol 105:2601-9
  7. Schubert T., Euler T. (2010) Retina Processing: Global Players Like It Local. Current Biology 20(11):R486-R488
  8. Margolis D.J., Gartland A.J., Euler T., Detwiler P.B. (2010) Dendritic Calcium Signaling in ON and OFF Mouse Retinal Ganglion Cells. J Neurosci 30:7127-7138
  9. Dedek K., Breuninger T., Pérez de Sevilla Müller L., Maxeiner S., Schultz K., Janssen-Bienhold U., Willecke K., Euler T., Weiler R. (2009) A novel type of interplexiform amacrine cell in the mouse retina. Eur J Neurosci. 30(2):217-28
  10. Euler T., Hausselt S.E., Margolis D.J., Breuninger T., Castell X., Detwiler P.B., Denk W. (2009). Eyecup scope-optical recordings of light stimulus-evoked fluorescence signals in the retina. Pflügers Arch. 457:1393-414
  11. Schlichtenbrede F.C., Mittmann W., Rensch F., vom Hagen F., Jonas J.B., Euler T. (2009) Toxicity Assessment of intravitreal Triamcinolone and Bevacizumab in an retinal explant mouse model using Two-Photon Microscopy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 50(12):5880-7.
  12. Margolis D.J., Newkirk G., Euler T., Detwiler P.B. (2008) Functional stability of retinal ganglion cells after degeneration-induced changes in synaptic input. J Neurosci 28:6526-6536.
  13. Hausselt SE, Euler T, Detwiler PB, Denk W (2007). A Dendrite-Autonomous Mechanism for Direction Selectivity in Retinal Starburst Amacrine Cells. PLoS Biol. 5:e185.