Miguel Castelo-Branco

Miguel Castelo-Branco

MCB is now Auxiliary Professor at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and has held a similar position in 2000 at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. Before (1998-1999), he was a Postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung, Germany where he had also performed his PhD work (1994-1998). He has made contributions in the fields of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Visual Neuroscience, Human Psychophysics, Functional Brain Imaging and Human and Animal Neurophysiology. His lab is now accomplishing tasks also in the context of a European Network (Evi-Genoret), and has succeed in collaborating with labs working in other fields of knowledge such as Human Genetics and Clinical Neuroscience. He is the scientific coordinator of the National Functional Brain Imaging Network. In his work he could isolate specific magnocelullar/visual motion dysfunction in a genetic neurodevelopmental model, Williams Syndrome. He has further studied parallel pathways to quantitatively analyze visual aging in neurodegenerative disorders of the retina and the brain (Glaucoma and Parkinson Disease). His laboratory is very experienced in Visual Impairment questions, and the multiple causes of amblyopia and its functional characterization in centre and peripheral visual field. In recent work, the lab has characterized genetic and acquired photoreceptor retinal degenerations. He has also published work on neuropsychology and psychophysics in patient populations. His achievements are well reflected in publications in top General Journals, such as Nature and PNAS and Top Translational research journals such as Journal of Clinical Investigation (impact factor(IF): 15,8), Brain (IF 8) as well as others in the field of Basic and Clinical Visual Sciences (IOVS, Archives of Ophthalmology, Vision Research and others).

One can summarize his main contributions as follows:

  • Discovery of new retinal and cortical phenotypes in genetic models of visual impairment (Williams Syndrome, Stargardt Disease and Best Disease, with publications in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, with impact factor 15.8, and top Journals in Visual Sciences and Ophthalmology)
  • Identification of the neural basis of visual motion integration in humans and animals (with papers in high impact Journals such as Nature, Neuron, PNAS, European Journal of Neuroscience and Neuropsychologia).
  • Discovery of non-motor visual manifestations in Parkinson Disease (leading to a main publication in Brain).
  • Established how temporal patterns of activity propagate from the retina to the cortex, by performed pioneering simultaneous recordings at distinct levels of visual processing (the retina, lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex) in the cat (with a highly cited paper in Journal of Neuroscience).
  • Characterized parallel impairment of konio, magno and parvocellular pathways in ocular hypertension and glaucoma (published in IOVS).

Scientific Interests:

Visual Neuroscience, Clinical Neuroscience, Translational Research Human Psychophysiology, Functional Brain Imaging and Animal Neurophysiology.

5 Key Publications:

Maia–Lopes S., Silva E., Silva M.F., Reis, A. Faria P. & Castelo–Branco M. (2008) Evidence for widespread retinal dysfunction in patients with Stargardt disease and morphologically unaffected carrier relatives Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, 49(3):1191-9.

Castelo-Branco M, Mendes M, Sebastião AR, Reis A, Soares M, Saraiva J, Bernardes R, Flores R, Pérez-Jurado L, Silva E. (2007) Visual phenotype in Williams-Beuren syndrome challenges magnocellular theories explaining human neurodevelopmental visual cortical disorders. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 117(12):3720-9.

Silva MF, Faria P, Regateiro FS, Forjaz V, Januário C, Freire A, Castelo-Branco M. (2005) Independent patterns of damage within magno-, parvo- and koniocellular pathways in Parkinson's disease. Brain 128:2260-71.

Castelo-Branco, M. Formisano, E. Backes, W. Zanella, F. Neuenschwander, S., Singer, W. & Rainer Goebel (2002) Activity patterns in human motion sensitive areas depend on the interpretation of global motion Proceedings of Nacional Academy of Sciences, USA, 99(21): 13914-13919.

Castelo-Branco M., Goebel, R. Neuenschwander S., and Singer W. (2000) Neural synchrony reflects surface segmentation rules. Nature 405(6787):685-689.

Short CV

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