I am an Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and a cognitive neuroscientist. My clinical and research work concerns the organization of the brain for mental operations, in particular visual ability. Using functional MRI, a non-invasive tool for measuring brain activity, I study how neurons are normally arranged to represent and store the appearance of people, places, and things. I use these techniques to understand as well how blindness changes the brain. As a clinician, I treat patients with a variety of disturbances of thinking and memory, with my practice informed by recent insights into the organization of the brain for these functions. I study the methodological development and application of imaging techniques. I am the Associate Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society with a focus upon the use and misuse of brain imaging data.
My interests are in the structure and organization of perceptual systems and how they leverage that organization to perform computation. At UPenn, I work with Drs. David Brainard (psychology) and Geoff Aguirre (Neurology) on the relationship between cortical anatomy and function in visual cortex (see my work on the retinotopic organization of striate cortex) and on models of color vision in the retina. My current research represents a topical departure from my doctoral research, which was on the computational analysis of protein dynamics and folding (under Dr. Valerie Daggett).
My current research analyzes changes in structural and functional connectivity in the visual pathway associated with visual deprivation, which in turn allows for a better understanding of neural development and neuroplasticity within the central nervous system. My doctoral dissertation directly compared diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tract tracing anatomical data in the same animal (ferret, rodent) to test the potential of DTI for non-invasively detecting normal as well as pathological changes in the organization of neuronal connections during development.
I am a PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Group of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, under the joint mentorship of Bob Schultz (at the Center for Autism Research at CHOP) and Dr. Aguirre. I am broadly interested in perceptual representations and the neural encoding of similarity. My thesis work explores the interplay of these processes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). I use event related potentials (ERP) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to probe neural representations in ASD and typically-developed populations.
I am broadly interested in the interplay between genetics and cortical plasticity in age-related macular degeneration. I am also working to continue the cross modal plasticity work started by Sashank Prasad.
I am a PhD student in the Psychology department, working jointly with Geoff Aguirre and Sharon Thompson-Schill. I am interested in the mechanisms, dynamics and functions of visual adaptation, as well as how it relates to perceptual expectation.
I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Psychology working jointly with Geoff Aguirre and David Brainard. I am interested in the processing of melanopsin-mediated signals in the human visual system. I'm an IGERT Complex Scene Perception Trainee.