Neural Basis of Vision, Neuroscience
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Students who have a Science and/or Engineering background are welcome to apply. Graduate students in the lab receive multi-disciplinary trainings in conducting research using experimental approaches and quantitative data analysis methods. For inquiry, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human activity is greatly enriched by vision. Relying on our versatile visual system, we are able to cruise through morning traffic, judge the trajectory of a fast approaching tennis ball and quickly return it. Vision also provides a major portion of our subjective sensory experience. We enjoy seeing the opulent sky color at dusk and admire the vibrating energy of van Gogh’s Starry Night. Because of the importance of vision, visual disorders have devastating consequences. Our laboratory seeks to understand the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception and visually guided behavior.
Visual information is represented and processed by a large number of neurons distributed across dozens of brain areas. Each of these neurons is sensitive to certain features of the visual image and has a spatially-constrained “view” of the world. Moreover, because many visual neurons are broadly-tuned to stimulus features, any given visual feature is represented by the discharge of a large population of neurons. How are spatially-localized representations synthesized to form perception? How are attributes of visual stimuli decoded from distributed population activity to make perceptual decisions and to guide action? The research in our laboratory is directed at addressing these questions. We are investigating the neural mechanisms of visual motion and form processing and their interactions using combined techniques of neurophysiology, psychophysics, and computational modeling. Current research in the lab focuses on studying integration and segmentation of multiple visual features in the visual system with the long-term goal to elucidate basic principles of neural coding.