Dr Anton Nikolaev

School of Biosciences

Lecturer in Neuroscience

+44 114 222 5113

Full contact details

Dr Anton Nikolaev
School of Biosciences
B1 221b
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN

Brief career history

  • 2013 - present: Lecturer, School of Biosciences, the University of Sheffield
  • 2008 - 2013: Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge
  • 2006 - 2008: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Sheffield
  • 2005 - 2006: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Umea
  • 2001 - 2005: PhD, Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Science, St.Petersburg
  • 1994 - 2000: BSc, MSc,  University of St.Petersburg.
Research interests

Our research is focused on investigating the neuronal circuits responsible for information processing in the visual system.

The vertebrate visual system is able to recognize a remarkable number of objects of different appearances but the mechanisms and neural circuits underlying this ability are not known. To tackle this problem we use in vivo imaging of neuronal activity in zebrafish and follow the processing of visual information in different brain areas.

Neuronal circuits involved in processing of visial information in zebrafish

To understand the organisation of neuronal circuits performing processing of visual information in zebrafish. Using a combination of behavioural and imaging techniques we study how the zebrafish visual system processes visual information. Our main goal is to understand how information about object identity is encoded in the activity of visual neurons.

The range of questions we ask includes: what features are extracted by the early visual system in order to make object recognition efficient? How do these features converge to form receptive fields of object recognising neurons? What is the role of adaptation in this process?

To answer these questions we image neuronal activity in zebrafish larvae. We are using zebrafish lines expressing calcium activity indicators in all or subset of visual neurons. These indicators change their brightness when neuron is active.

The advantage of this method is that it is non-invasive and allows for the simultaneous study of a large population of neurons - something that is currently unfeasible using other techniques.

To understand how memory is encoded in changes in synaptic strength. We are develop GFP based reporters of long-term potentiation and long-term depression. These reporters will be used in vivo to understand how simple forms of associative and non-associative memory are implemented in changes in synaptic strength.

To answer these questions we are developing behavioural paradigms that will allow us to combine evaluation of memory formation with in vivo imaging of synaptic strength.



Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles


  • Malicki J, Pooranachandran N, Nikolaev A, Fang X & Avanesov A (2016) Analysis of the retina in the zebrafish model In Detrich HW, Westerfield M & Zon LI (Ed.), The Zebrafish Cellular and Developmental Biology, Part B Developmental Biology (pp. 257-334). RIS download Bibtex download


Teaching activities

Undergraduate taught modules

  • BMS109-153 Neuroscience
  • BMS109 Practical Classes
  • BMS242 Advanced Concepts in Molecular Physiology (Co-ordinator)

Teaching experience

2015: Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching from the University of Sheffield (Fellow of The Higher Education Academy, FHEA)

Professional activities and memberships
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)