Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Structure and NPRC
Humans gather most information about the world through their eyes. Our brains effortlessly, and rapidly, make sense of the patterns of light that enter our eyes. While this task seems natural to us, it is an amazing feat of computation that no engineer or modern computer has yet been able to approach. How and why is the brain so efficient at understanding the visual world? To answer this question, research in my laboratory focuses on the neural basis of visual shape perception and recognition: the crucial ability to identify and recognize objects from all angles, distances, and in almost any lighting condition. We use single cell neurophysiological studies in awake monkeys, behavioral manipulations, computational modeling and reversible inactivation techniques to investigate how the information reaching our eyes is represented in the neural activity patterns in the brain, how these representations are transformed in successive stages and finally how these representations inform behavior. In addition to shedding light on how visual shape information is processed, these experiments are providing insights into the overall computational capabilities of the primate brain.