EducationPhD, California Institute of Technology (1999)
My laboratory explores the neural mechanisms of sensory-motor integration. We study how visually-guided arm and eye movements are orchestrated by the cerebral cortex. We then apply new discoveries in neurophysiology to help improve neural prosthetics - devices that can provide motor control to paralyzed individuals.
There are two chief research directions in the lab: neural prosthetics and basic neuroscience. In the first, we are exploring a new way to provide sensory feedback to the user of a neural prosthesis: cortical microstimulation. By providing the brain with a direct representation of the position of the prosthesis, we hope to improve its controllability. Such fast, accurate feedback may create the sensation that the prosthesis is "embodied": incorporated into the user's body body.
Our second research direction is to understand how arm and eye movements are controlled, and how these movements change our sensory experience. For example, every time we move our eyes, a different image is sent from the retina to the brain. This change is anticipated by the brain, and is accounted for rapidly, to create a seamless visual experience. How is visual information rapidly passed between neurons to permit accurate goal-directed reaching even while the eyes are moving?