In the primary visual cortex (V1) most neurons in V1 are more responsive to stimuli from one eye than from the other. This preferred responsiveness is strongly influenced by visual experience during postnatal development. When during a sensitive period of development one eye is deprived for example, responsiveness of V1 to the deprived eye decreases while that of the non-deprived eye increases resulting in a shift of ocular dominance. The loss of responsiveness in the deprived eye is accompanied by a reduction in visual acuity.
Research in the Levelt lab focuses on the biological processes that underlie these functional changes. The main questions being addressed are: What are the cortical mechanisms controlling visual acuity, what are the structural correlates of synaptic plasticity in the visual cortex, and what are the molecular signaling pathways that regulate these processes.