Prof. dr. M. Kamermans

Main activities
Sensory Physiology
Focus of research

The retina is part of the central nervous system. It is one of the very few, maybe the only, part of the central nervous system from which we know its input, its function, and its output. This system offers therefore the unique opportunity to perform an input/output analysis, and to ask questions dealing with neuronal coding and the efficiency of such coding. In this system, we can really study what the neural code is the brain uses. Although we know a lot about neuronal diseases, neuronal function, action potentials and synaptic transmission, real insight in neuronal coding is largely lacking. My research team tries to elucidate the coding schemes the retina uses.

Key publications
  • Vroman R, Klaassen LJ, Howlett MHC, Cenedese V, Klooster J, Sjoerdsma T, Kamermans M, Extracellular ATP Hydrolysis Inhibits Synaptic Transmission by Increasing pH Buffering in the Synaptic Cleft. PLOS BIOL 2014;12 (5):e1001864 [PubMed]
  • Peachey NS, Ray TA, Florijn R, Rowe LB, Sjoerdsma T, Contreras-Alcantara S, Baba K, Tosini G, Pozdeyev N, Iuvone PM, Bojang P Jr, Pearring JN, Simonsz HJ, van Genderen M, Birch DG, Traboulsi EI, Dorfman A, Lopez I, Ren H, Goldberg AFX, Nishina PM, Lachapelle P, McCall MA, Koenekoop RK, Bergen AAB, Kamermans M , Gregg RG, GPR179 Is Required for Depolarizing Bipolar Cell Function and Is Mutated in Autosomal-Recessive Complete Congenital Stationary Night Blindness. AM J HUM GENET 2012;90 (2):331-339 [PubMed]
  • Klaassen LJ, Sun Z, Steijaert MN, Bolte P, Fahrenfort I, Sjoerdsma T, Klooster J, Claassen Y, Shields CR, ten Eikelder HMM, Janssen-Bienhold U, Zoidl G, McMahon DG, Kamermans M, Synaptic transmission from horizontal cells to cones is impaired by loss of connexin hemichannels. PLOS BIOL 2011;9 (7):e1001107 [PubMed]
  • van Genderen MM, Bijveld MMC, Claassen YB, Florijn RJ, Pearring JN, Meire FM, McCall MA, Riemslag FCC, Gregg RG, Bergen AAB, Kamermans M, Mutations in TRPM1 Are a Common Cause of Complete Congenital Stationary Night Blindness. AM J HUM GENET 2009;85 (5):730-736 [PubMed]
  • Kamermans M , Fahrenfort I, Schultz K, Janssen-Bienhold U, Sjoerdsma T, Weiler R, Hemichannel-mediated inhibition in the outer retina. SCIENCE 2001;292 (5519):1178-1180 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae

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 AMC and 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.