Connecting European Neuroscience

Thomas Mrsic-Flogel

Programme Committee Chair, FENS Forum 2018

Curriculum Vitae


Professional and academic career

2013-present   Associate Professor, Biozentrum, Basel University.

2007-13           Wellcome Trust Fellow & University Lecturer

Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology.

University College London

2001–07          Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Tobias Bonhoeffer,

Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany.

1997–01          D.Phil. in Neuroscience (Dec 2001), Physiology Department, Oxford University.

1996–97          M.Sc. in Neuroscience, Oxford University.

1993–96          B.A. in Biological Sciences (1st Class Hons), Oxford University.


Honours and awards

2014-19           European Research Council Consolidator Grant (Euro 2m)

2011-16           Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship (£1.67m)

2008-13           European Research Council Starting Grant (Euro 1.1m)

2007-11           Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship (£566k)

2003–04          Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (€26k p.a.)

2001                McDonnell Pew Research Stipend (£2k)

1996–00          Wellcome Trust 4–year Prize Studentship (£19k p.a.)

1996–98          Keble College Graduate Scholarship, Oxford University (£2.5k p.a.)


General administrative and organisational experience

  • Co-founder of European network of visual neuroscientists (EuroVision), including organisation of international meetings in Amsterdam (2007), Pisa (2009) and Zacretje (2013).
  • Symposium organiser: Winter Neuroscience Meeting (2007, 2010, Soelden, Austria); FENS Symposia “Imaging Development and Plasticity in Visual Cortex” (Geneva, 2008) & “Functional Plasticity in the Visual System” (Vienna, 2006).
  • Reviewer for journals and funding agencies: Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, PNAS, PLoS, eLife, Journal of Neuroscience, eLife, Current Biology, Journal of Neurophysiology, European Journal of Neuroscience, Wellcome Trust, Swiss Science Foundation, Dutch Science Foundation, European Research Council, Volkswagen Stiftung, Royal Society.
  • Editorial Board member for Current Biology and the Frontiers Journal family.
  • Guest editor Current Opinions in Neurobiology Issue on Plasticity and Memory (2016).
  • Organizing committee (NeuroNetwork Basel, including Bench2Bedside Symposium Basel 2015).
  • Organiser of the Cell- and Neurobiology ‘Blockkurs’, Basel University
  • Co-organiser (with A. Luthi, FMI) of the Graduate Lecture series ‘Signaling in the Nervous System’, Basel University
  • Neuroscience Tutor, Masters Research Programme, University College London.


Research interests

My research aims to understand how sensory function emerges from highly complex neuronal interactions in large neuronal populations. I believe the best way to understand this complexity is to (i) record activity in single neurons and large neuronal ensembles in the intact brain during sensation, (ii) map connections between identified components of this circuit, and (iii) use statistical and computational methods to understand which circuit components are important for single neuron and network function.

In 2013, I took up the position of Associate Professor at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, after having established an independent research group at University College London in 2007. My laboratory currently consists of 6 postdocs and 2 PhD students. We use a multidisciplinary approach to address how different circuit components contribute to visual processing in the visual cortex. To understand how local circuits influence visual responses, we combine patch clamp recordings in vitro and two photon calcium imaging in vivo to map synaptic connections between functionally characterised neurons (Ko et al, 2011 & 2013; Hofer et al, 2011; Cossell et al, 2015). Using two-photon calcium imaging, we study how neuronal populations of excitatory and inhibitory neurons dynamically represent visual information (Hofer et al, 2011), and how neural representations change as a function learning in behaving animals (Poort, Khan et al, unpublished). This work is complemented with intra- and extra-cellular recordings in vivo to understand how neurons integrate visual input and how they are modulated by contextual stimuli and behavioural tasks (Pecka et al 2014). We are currently extending this work by developing methods for wide-field imaging and manipulating the activity of different cortical areas during visually-guided behaviours. For the analysis of these large datasets, we apply different approaches, including decoding algorithms, generalised linear modelling and dynamical systems modelling to understand how V1 populations represent visual information under different behavioural conditions (in collaboration with M. Sahani, UCL).


Selected Publications

  1. Cossell L, Iacaruso MF, Muir DR, Houlton R, Sader EN, Ko H, Hofer SB, Mrsic-Flogel TD. (2015) Functional organization of excitatory synaptic strength in primary visual cortex. Nature (in press)
  2. Pecka M, Han Y, Sader E, Mrsic-Flogel TD (2014) Experience-dependent specialization of receptive field surround for selective coding of natural scenes. Neuron 84: 457-69.
  3. Ko H, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Hofer SB (2014) Emergence of feature-specific connectivity in cortical mircrocircuits in the the absence of visual experience. Journal of Neuroscience, 34: 9812-9816.
  4. Harris KD, Mrsic-Flogel TD (2013) Cortical connectivity and sensory coding. Nature 503: 51-8. Review.
  5. Ko H, Cossell L, Baragli C, Antolik J, Clopath C, Hofer, SB, Mrsic-Flogel TD (2013) Emergence of functional subnetworks in visual cortex. Nature,496: 96-100.
  6. Hofer SB, Ko H, Pichler B, Vogelstein J, Ros H, Zeng H, Lein E, Lesica N, Mrsic-Flogel TD (2011) Differential tuning and population dynamics of excitatory and inhibitory neurons reflect differences in local intracortical connectivity. Nature Neuroscience 14: 1045-52.
  7. Ko H, Hofer SB, Pichler B, Buchanan K, Sjostrom JP, Mrsic-Flogel TD (2011) Functional specificity of local synaptic connections in neocortical networks. Nature, 473: 87-91.
  8. Holtmaat A, Bonhoeffer T, Chow DK, Chuckowree J, De Paola V, Hofer SB, Hübener M, Keck T, Knott G, Lee WC, Mostany R, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Nedivi E, Portera-Cailliau C, Svoboda K, Trachtenberg JT, Wilbrecht L. (2009) Long-term, high-resolution imaging in the mouse neocortex through a chronic cranial window. Nature Protocols 4: 1128-44.
  9. Hofer SB, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M. (2009) Experience leaves a lasting structural trace in cortical circuits. Nature. 15; 457:313-7.
  10. Keck T, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Vaz Afonso M, Eysel UT, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M (2008) Massive restructuring of neuronal circuits during functional reorganization of adult visual cortex. Nature Neurosci 11: 1162-7.
  11. Mank M, Santos AF, Direnberger S, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Hofer SB, Stein V, Hendel T, Reiff DF, Levelt C, Borst A, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M, Griesbeck O. (2008) A genetically encoded calcium indicator for chronic in vivo two-photon imaging. Nature Methods 5: 805-11.
  12. Mrsic-Flogel TD, Hofer SB, Ohki K, Reid RC, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M (2007)Homeostatic regulation of eye-specific responses in visual cortex during ocular dominance plasticity. Neuron 54: 961-72.
  13. Hofer SB, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M (2006)Prior experience enhances plasticity in adult visual cortex. Nature Neurosci 9: 127-32.
  14.  Mrsic-Flogel TD, Versnel H, King AJ. (2006) Development of contralateral and ipsilateral frequency representations in the ferret primary auditory cortex. Eur J Neurosci 23: 780-792.
  15.  Mrsic-Flogel TD, Hofer SB, Creutzfeldt C, Cloëz-Tayarani I, Changeux JP, Bonhoeffer T, Hübener M (2005) Altered map of visual space in the superior colliculus of mice lacking early retinal waves. J Neurosci 25: 6921-8.
  16.  Mrsic-Flogel TD, King AJ, Schnupp JWH (2005) Encoding of virtual acoustic space stimuli by neurons in ferret primary auditory cortex. J Neurophysiol  93: 3489-3503.
  17. Egea J, Vig Nissen U, Dufour A, Sahin M, Greer P, Kullander K, Mrsic-Flogel TD, Greenberg ME, Kiehn O, Vanderhaeghen P, Klein R (2005) Regulation of EphA4 kinase activity is required for thalamocortical but not midline axon pathfinding - additional role of receptor clustering in Eph function. Neuron 47: 515-528.
  18. Mrsic-Flogel TD, Schnupp JWH, King AJ (2003) Acoustic factors govern developmental sharpening of spatial tuning in the auditory cortex. Nature Neurosci 6: 981-988.
  19.  Mrsic-Flogel T, Hübener M, Bonhoeffer T (2003) Brain mapping: New wave optical imaging. Current Biology 13: R778-R780.
  20. Mrsic-Flogel TD, King AJ, Jenison RL, Schnupp JWH (2001) Listening through different ears alters spatial receptive fields in ferret primary auditory cortex. J Neurophysiol 86: 1043-6.
  21. Schnupp JWH, Mrsic-Flogel TD, King AJ (2001) Linear processing of spatial cues in primary auditory cortex. Nature 414:200-4. 

Thomas Mrsic-Flogel

University College London
Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT