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Kristian Donner

University of Helsinki
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

I did zoology, mathematics, physics and some chemistry at the University of Helsinki, where I got my MSc 1976 and PhD 1985, working on adaptational changes in the receptive-field properties of frog retinal ganglion cells. I was lucky to have two mentors, Tom Reuter and Simo Hemilä, who gave me a solid basis for work at both the ganglion-cell and photoreceptor levels. My inclination was always integrative, to investigate well-defined functions ”from molecules to behaviour”. Behaviour has included both frog and toad studies and human psychophysics. My main focus has been on functions that can be measured and analyzed in commensurate ways across levels: absolute and contrast sensitivity, intensity coding, and temporal resolution. Our work with Petri Ala-Laurila on the relation of spectral (signal) and thermal (noise) properties of visual pigments from the early 2000s has also led me to study sensitivity limits in the ecological context of vision in different aquatic environments.