Staff Profiles

Saskia de Vries, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator

Saskia de Vries joined the Allen Institute in 2012 as a scientist in the neural coding team. With a background in systems neuroscience, she has studied visual processing in both vertebrate and invertebrate systems using a combination of physiological, computational, behavioral and molecular tools to parse how neural circuits process visual information and use that information to select appropriate behavior. Prior to joining the Allen Institute, de Vries was a postdoctoral scholar in the department of neurobiology at Stanford University, where she identified loom sensitive neurons in the optic lobe of the fruit fly and directly linked them to the fly's escape behavior. De Vries received a B.S. from Yale University in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University.


Research Interests

Research Interests My research interests are centered on how the brain transforms sensory information into perceptions and appropriate behaviors. Such transformations result from sophisticated computations that are carried out by individual neurons and their interactions within a larger circuit. I seek to understand the cellular and circuit mechanisms that underpin these computations. My research combines optical imaging with computational, behavioral and molecular tools to examine how individual cells function in the visual circuit.


  • Neural circuits
  • Systems neuroscience
  • Visual neuroscience
  • Electrophysiology

Research Programs

  • Neural coding

Selected Publications View on PUBMED

A large-scale, standardized physiological survey reveals higher order coding throughout the mouse visual cortex

June 29, 2018

de Vries S, Lecoq J, Buice MA, Groblewski PA, Ocker GK, Oliver M, Feng F, Cain N, Ledochowitsch P, Millman D, Roll K, Garrett M, Keenan T, Kuan L, Mihalas S, Olsen S, Thompson C, Wakeman W, Waters J, Williams D, Barber C, Berbesque N, Blanchard B, Bowles N, Caldejon S, Casal L, Cho A, Cross S, Dang C, Dolbeare T, Edwards M, Galbraith J, Gaudreault N, Griffin F, Hargrave P, Howard R, Huang L, Jewell S, Keller N, Knoblich U, Larkin J, Larsen R, Lau C, Lee E, Lee F, Leon A, Li L, Long F, Luviano J, Mace K, Nguyen T, Perkins J, Robertson M, Seid S, Shea-Brown E, Shi J, Sjoquist N, Slaughterbeck C, Sullivan D, Valenza R, White C, Williford A, Witten D, Zhuang J, Zeng H, Farrell C, Ng L, Bernard A, Phillips JW, R Reid C, Koch C

Visual physiology of the Layer 4 cortical circuit in silico

PLoS Computational Biology
November 12, 2018

Arkhipov A, Gouwens NW, Billeh YN, Gratiy S, Iyer R, Wei Z, Xu Z, Berg J, Buice M, Cain N, da Costa N, de Vries S, Denman D, Durand S, Feng D, Jarsky T, Lecoq J, Lee B, Li L, Mihalas S, Ocker GK, Olsen SR, Reid RC, Soler-LLavina G, Sorensen SA, Wang Q, Waters J, Scanziani M, Koch C

Optogenetic stimulation of escape behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Journal of Visualized Experiments
January 2013

de Vries SEJ & Clandinin TR

Loom-sensitive neurons link computation to action in the Drosophila visual system

Current Biology
March 2012

de Vries SEJ & Clandinin TR

The projective field of a retinal amacrine cell

Journal of Neuroscience
June 2011

de Vries SEJ, Baccus SA, Meister M

Watching the fly brain in action

Nature Methods
July 2010

Clark DA, de Vries SEJ, Clandinin TR

Retinal ganglion cells can rapidly change polarity from Off to On

PLoS Biology
March 2007

Geffen MN, de Vries SEJ, Meister M