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Dr Tim Viney

Dr Tim Viney

Dr Tim Viney

Career Development Fellow



My research focuses on neural circuit mechanisms underlying spatial navigation and orientation, and how the coordinated activity of diverse kinds of neurons contributes to behaviour. Disorientation is a key early symptom of dementia, and my group investigates the mechanisms that lead to disorientation by examining vulnerable neurons in post-mortem human brain tissue and by recording and labelling equivalent neurons in mice. 

Current projects include determining the cell types most vulnerable to Tau pathology in the human Papez circuit, and defining cell types in the mouse thalamus. Past work has involved investigating the synaptic circuit mechanisms for how different kinds of GABAergic neurons in the medial septum (part of the basal forebrain) implement rhythmic neuronal activity in the cortex, especially during theta network oscillations.

Current funding sources: Alzheimer's Society, John Fell Fund.


I carried out my PhD in the group of Dr Botond Roska at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, where I studied neural circuits of the retina (2005-2010). I defined several types of ganglion cells in a transgenic mouse line based on two-photon targeted patch clamp recordings in wholemount retinas. I demonstrated that "approach sensitive" ganglion cells receive glycinergic inhibition from AII amacrine cells, and that dopaminergic interplexiform cells are presynaptic to a type of intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cell. Next I moved to Oxford as an MRC Career Development Fellow in the group of Professor Peter Somogyi at the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit (2010-2012). Here I investigated the spike timing of identified GABAergic neurons in the rat hippocampus in relation to different behavioural states. I also discovered a 'negative marker' for axo-axonic cells, the transcription factor SATB1. In 2012, I became an MRC Investigator Scientist, and was elected as a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College (2013-2019). Moving to the Department of Pharmacology in 2016, I discovered a specialised kind of rhythmically-bursting GABAergic neuron in the mouse medial septum that selectively innervates GABAergic neurons in the dorsal presubiculum and entorhinal cortex, named orchid cells (Viney et al eLife 2018), and defined a group of 'low rhythmic neurons' of the medial septum that preferentially target the dentate gyrus and CA3 (Salib et al J Neurosci 2019). In 2020 I became a Departmental Career Development Fellow, and was also elected as a Research Fellow at Wolfson College.

I am head of the Mind, Brain & Behaviour Research Cluster at Wolfson College, and also run the Oxford Thalamus Club.

For further information about my group please see the Viney Group page.


Single neuron extracellular recordings and juxtacellular labelling in awake mice; retrograde and anterograde viral tracing; immunohistochemistry; neuronal reconstructions; light, fluorescence and electron microscopy; behavioural testing in real and virtual environments; multi-unit recordings; analysis of spike timing and network oscillations.


Spatial memory, thalamus, hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, medial septum, GABAergic interneurons, pyramidal cells, theta oscillations, gamma oscillations, sharp wave ripples, tauopathy, ageing, Alzheimer's disease, neurodegeneration, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology.


N. Sypsa (MSc student, 2023)

K. Holland (FHS student, 2023)

S. Jiang (DPhil student, 2022-) [Co-supervisor: Prof V. Vyazovskiy, DPAG, Oxford]

V. Gautsch (MSc student, 2022)

D. Glickman (FHS student 2022)

V. Bagge (FHS student, 2021)

D. Brizee (BBSRC rotation student, 2021)

H. Hilton (MSc student, 2021)

B. Sarkany (DPhil student, 2020-) [Co-supervisors: Prof V. Vyazovskiy, DPAG, Oxford; Prof Frances Edwards, UCL]

H. Mackay (MSc student, 2020)

M. Salib (DPhil student, 2015-2019) [Co-supervisor: Prof V. Vyazovskiy, DPAG, Oxford]

B. Sarkany (Erasmus+ student, 2019-2020)

Dr S. Hasan (short-term postdoc, 2018)

Dr L. Lefevre (short-term postdoc, 2018)

C. Onyali (MSc student, 2018)

M. Vezir (Erasmus student, 2016)

M. Salib (MSc student, 2014-2015)

M. Valero (Visiting PhD student, 2014)

M. Crump (DPhil student, 2012 - 2014) [Co-supervisor]

D. Kotzadimitriou (Research Assistant, 2011-2012)

GABAergic septo-hippocampal neuron

Reconstruction of a rhythmically bursting theta-coupled GABAergic rat medial septal neuron projecting to both the CA1 region of the hippocampus and the dorsal subiculum. Neuron D55c was recorded and labelled by Dr Damien Lapray and reconstructed by Mr Ben Micklem. This septo-hippocampal neuron synaptically targeted GABAergic neurons and showed a preference for bistratified GABAergic neurons in contrast to nNOS-expressing neurons in CA1. Reference: Unal G, Crump MG, Viney TJ, Éltes T, Katona L, Klausberger T, Somogyi P. Spatio-temporal specialization of GABAergic septo-hippocampal neurons for rhythmic network activity. Brain Structure and Function, 2018. doi: 10.1007/s00429-018-1626-0.

Key publications

Recent publications

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