UW has outstanding faculty in human neuroscience, comprised of over 35 faculty members, distributed across 14 departments and institutes. Almost every domain of human neuroscience is represented, including addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, blindness, dyslexia, emotional regulation, executive control, hearing loss, obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury. These faculty are situated within the context of a world-class medical school, neuroscience and psychology graduate programs, and one of the leading data science institutes in the country. Every year we train over 100 undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students. 

Department of Biology

Bing Brunton, Associate Professor

H. Stewart Parker Endowed Faculty Fellow

Adjunct Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Brunton studies the convergence of brain, behavior, and data—how can we best leverage data-intensive approaches to help us make sense of our minds? 

Department of Bioengineering

Amy Orsborn, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor

Dr. Orsborn develops brain-machine interfaces to restore, replace, and augment nervous system function – with a particular focus on movement disorders. 

Azadeh Yazdan-Shamorad, Associate Professor

Dr. Yazdan-Shamorad develops novel neural technologies and therapeutic protocols towards effective stroke rehabilitation.

Biomedical Imaging Research Group

Colin Studholme, Professor

Dr. Studholme’s research is focused on mathematical and computational techniques to study brain anatomy and its change over time – with a particular focus on fetal and premature neonatal brain growth.

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Raj Rao, Professor 

Director of the NSF Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering 

Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering and Biological Engineering

Dr. Rao’s research spans the areas of computational neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and brain-computer interfacing. 

Department of Linguistics

Naja Ferjan Ramírez, Assistant Professor

Dr. Ferjan Ramírez’s research focuses on understanding the extent and origins of variability in linguistic and brain growth among young children of diverse backgrounds. She uses multiple methodologies, including naturalistic recordings in children’s homes and early education centers, magnetoencephalography (MEG), and behavioral language measures in the laboratory.

Qi Cheng, Assistant Professor

Dr. Cheng’s research interests lie in (atypical) language development and the neural foundations of language. Currently her research is focused on the role of early language experience on language and brain development. She has been looking at the longitudinal development, ultimate attainment, and real-time processing of American Sign Language syntactic structures by people who are deaf and had very limited early language exposure. She also explores anatomical differences as a result of early language deprivation.

Richard A Wright, Professor

Dr. Wright’s primary research interest is in understanding sources of systematic variation in the production and perception of language, and how it relates to language universals and language structure, prosody, and discourse. His research contains translational components in speech technology and clinical applications related to hearing loss and perception under conditions of distortion.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Kat Steele, Albert S. Kobayashi Endowed Professor

Dr. Steele’s research focuses on integrating dynamic simulation, motion analysis, medical imaging, and device design to improve quality of life for individuals with neurologic disorders.

Department of Neurological Surgery

Jeffrey Ojemann, Professor

Dr. Ojemann’s research focuses on the signals from direct human cortical recordings, especially during motor learning and memory tasks.  He also studies sensory feedback as part of efforts to understand brain-computer interfaces and how native learning might interact with such novel systems.

Richard G. Ellenbogen, Professor

Co-Director UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute

Dr. Ellenbogen’s research focuses on the molecular imaging of brain tumors and traumatic brain injury.

Department of Neurology

Jeffrey Tsai, Assistant Professor

Dr. Tsai’s research deals with neural circuit changes that result in abnormal sensitivity or gain regulation in epilepsy. He is currently using the human visual system as a model to look for evidence of gain changes in epilepsy in order to improve its evaluation and treatment.

Department of Ophthalmology

Jay Neitz, Professor

Dr. Neitz studies the biological basis of vision and vision disorders – including color vision. His goal is to make discoveries that will lead to a better understanding of how the visual system and brain work. He hopes his work will contribute to treatments for vision disorders, including macular degeneration, nearsightedness, and colorblindness.

Maureen Neitz, Professor

Dr. Neitz’s research focuses on identifying variants of the human cone photopigments that underlie photoreceptor-based vision disorders, developing a cure for color blindness that can be used in humans, and developing a better understanding of the neural circuitry for color vision.

Ramkumar Sabesan, Associate Professor

Dr. Sabesan’s research group studies how the human retina enables the fundamental, yet, intricate aspects of our daily vision – color, motion and so on; and how such visual capacities are disrupted in the face of retinal diseases.

Russ Van Gelder, Professor

Dr. Van Gelder’s laboratory is also interested in how the eye can sense light without seeing, and how these mechanisms can be used to treat blindness.

Department of Otolaryngology

David Horn, Associate Professor

Dr. Horn’s major research interest is in auditory development of infants who receive cochlear implants. His NIH-funded work investigates how basic auditory abilities emerge in implanted infants, and whether these skills predict later speech perception and spoken-language development.

Bonnie Lau, Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Lau’s research combines brain and behavioral measures to investigate the relationship between how hearing develops and how language is acquired. One goal of her research is to develop objective measures that can be used in clinical practice to help better identify children who are at risk for language learning difficulties and to guide the personalization of treatment for each individual child.

Jay Rubinstein, Professor

Dr. Rubinstein uses physiological, psychophysical, and computational techniques to develop improved signal processing for cochlear implants and related devices. We are also studying the effects of electrical stimulation of the human vestibular periphery in order to develop a vestibular prosthesis for balance disorders.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Sara Jane Webb, Professor

By understanding genetics and brain functioning, Dr. Webb’s goal is to be able to predict which interventions will work for each child with autism spectrum disorder. Her research team is helping to create personalized medicine for children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Nina de Lacy, Acting Assistant Professor

Dr. de Lacy treats and researches genetic disorders affecting brain development, as well as complex neuropsychiatric conditions such as catatonia, narcolepsy and autoimmune encephalopathy.

Department of Psychology

Geoffrey Boynton, Professor

Dr. Geoffrey Boynton’s primary focus is on top-down influences on visual processing, such as visual attention, as measured with fMRI and psychophysical methods. Other interests include how the visual system summarizes statistical properties of a scene, visual prosthetics, and computational models of visual processing.

Angela Fang, Assistant Professor

Dr. Fang’s research aims to investigate the social and cognitive biases underlying anxiety and obsessive-compulsive related disorders, to inform targets for treatment.

Ione Fine, Professor

Dr. Fine examines the mechanisms of sensory loss and plasticity in the human brain by linking changes in function to changes in neuroanatomical structure using a conjunction of “state-of-the-art” imaging techniques that includes BOLD imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and high resolution structural imaging. Her goal is also to help develop improved retinal prosthetics.

Andrew Meltzoff, Professor

Co-Director, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences

Dr. Meltzoff is a developmental psychologist interested in neuroplasticity and the development of brain-behavior relations in children prior to language. Preverbal infants are tuned to detecting and identifying human goal-directed actions. Meltzoff studies the somatosensory and motor neural body maps that underlie human social cognition using MEG, EEG, and examines social processing in children with ASD.

Scott Murray, Professor

Dr. Murray’s research focuses on the neural mechanisms of visual attention and perception. In addition, he uses the visual system as a test bed to evaluate models of neural dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder.

Chantel Prat, Professor

UW Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences

Dr. Prat’s research investigates the nature of biological constraints on information processing, with an emphasis on the neural correlates of individual differences in language comprehension abilities. Her current research employs the combination of fMRI, TMS, DTI, and behavioral paradigms to investigate the neural basis of individual differences in language and cognition.

Andrea Stocco, Associate Professor

Dr. Stocco’s research concerns how humans use abstract mental representations (i.e.  rules, instructions, and plans) to perform complex tasks. He uses computational and mathematical models, neuroimaging techniques, and brain stimulation methods determine and predict how these mental representations are encoded in the brain, how they are transformed into behavior, and how this knowledge can be used to improve learning and skill acquisition.

Ariel Rokem, Research Associate Professor

Dr Rokem’s research uses data science methods to integrate the information from large-scale openly available measurements of the human brain. In particular, he develops statistical analysis techniques to decipher the role of networks of brain areas in complex behaviors and in brain disorder and implements these techniques in robust, efficient, and widely-available computer software.

Department of Radiology

Stephen Dager, Professor

Associate Director, Center on Human Development and Disability

Dr. Dager’s primary research focus has been the development and application of novel imaging techniques to study brain mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders that affect both adults and young children.

Thomas Grabowski, Professor

Director, UW Integrated Brain Imaging Center 

Medical Director and Neurologist, UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center 

ADRC Director

Dr. Grabowski studies the organization of language and semantic memory in the brain, especially the temporal lobes, using fMRI technology to understand the systems organization of the brain and detect early signs of degenerative disease.

Natalia Kleinhans, Associate Professor

Member of the UW Integrated Brain Imaging Center

Dr. Kleinhans uses multi-modal imaging technologies to investigate the neural basis of developmental disorders with a special focus on autism.

Kurt Weaver, Associate Professor

UW Integrated Brain Imaging Center

Dr. Weaver combines quantitative MR technologies, specifically MR spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging, to examine the white matter abnormalities in individuals with Huntington’s disease.

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

Andrew Brown, Associate Professor

Dr. Brown’s research is focused on spatial hearing – the auditory sense of “where” that enables us to locate and separate the sounds around us. Work in the lab leverages acoustic, psychophysical, and electrophysiological techniques, toward (1) identification of fundamental constraints on spatial hearing performance in normal and impaired hearing, and (2) targeted improvement of hearing devices, from earplugs to hearing aids. 

Gabe Cler, Assistant Professor

Dr. Cler’s research focuses on neuroimaging in people with speech and language disorders. In addition to leveraging large existing datasets, he works in concert with ongoing projects to examine developmental language disorders and stuttering.

Pat Kuhl, Professor

Director of the UW Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences

Dr. Kuhl’s goal is to revolutionize our understanding of children’s development in their early years, and reveal how this affects brain changes in adolescence, adulthood, and aging. This research is part of a growing national and international movement to help children maximize their learning capabilities. She works in collaboration with people and organizations that directly affect children’s lives—from educators and policymakers to national advocacy organizations.

Adrian Lee, Professor

UW Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on mapping the spatiotemporal dynamics of the cortical network involved in attending and analyzing different acoustical signals in a crowded auditory scene (e.g., in a cocktail party). He is also interested in combining his backgrounds in engineering and neuroscience to identify neural biomarkers that can be used for controlling prosthetic and orthotic devices in a next-generation Brain Computer Interface design.

Christina Zhao, Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Zhao’s group aims to comprehensively understand how auditory learning takes place in young brains and how such learning supports auditory cognition later in life.Currently, our research examines three overarching and interdependent questions: 1) What are the mechanisms (e.g., neural, cognitive) involved in early speech learning 2) How is early speech learning related to later language development? and 3) How does early auditory environment, such as music experience, affect early speech learning as well as later language development?