2023 Meet the Professors

Monday, May 22, 2023, 3:30 – 5:00 pm, Banyan Breezeway

Students and postdocs are invited to the 8th annual “Meet the Professors” event. This year’s event will follow a similar format to last year’s. There will be up to five, short, 15-minute meetings in small groups. Chat about science, VSS, career issues, work/life balance, or whatever comes up. Or just connect with a new VSS colleague.

Space will be limited and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Each student/postdoc will meet with five professors. If you would like to attend Meet the Professors, please complete this Registration Form. Registration will close on April 21, 2023, or when all spaces are filled. See below for this year’s professors.

Members of the VSS Board are indicated with an asterisk* in case you have a specific interest in talking to a member of the board.

Professors and VSS Board Members

David Alais (Professor, University of Sydney, Australia) studies multisensory perception as well as bistable perception and awareness using behavioral methods.

Brian Anderson (Associate Professor, Texas A&M University) studies how the control of attention is influenced by learning, using behavioral and cognitive neuroscience methods. His academic journey began as a part-time community college student.

Ben Balas (Professor, North Dakota State University) studies visual recognition in children and adults, with an emphasis on the role of experience in shaping face and texture recognition. He uses behavioral and computational methods and also uses EEG and eye-tracking in his research.

David Brainard (Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania) studies color vision, using psychophysical, physiological, and computational methods. He also has interests in physiological optics, retinal processing, and the role of melanopsin-mediated signals in visual processing.

Johannes Burge (Associate Professor of Psychology, Univ. of Pennsylvania) studies vision with natural images, focusing i) on tasks in optics, depth, motion perception, and ii) on how sensory, perceptual, and motor processing unfolds over time. He uses perceptual phenomena like illusions, and an array of tools—forced-choice and continuous psychophysics, image-computable ideal observers, and other modeling techniques—to understand how human vision works and how artificial vision systems should be designed to work. He interned at Adobe Inc. but didn’t like it much.

Marisa Carrasco (Julius Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, NYU) investigates several aspects of visual perception and attention using human psychophysics, neuroimaging, neurostimulation, and computational modeling to study the relation between the psychological and neural mechanisms involved in these processes.

Monica Castelhano (Professor, Queen’s University) studies how context and real-world knowledge affects perceptual processes, memory and attention and visual search. In her research, she uses a variety of methodologies including EEG, eye movements and virtual realtity to examine behavior in virtual environments.

Sang Chul Chong (Professor, Yonsei University) studies ensemble perception, visual awareness, and attention, using psychophysics and eye tracking.

Miguel Eckstein (Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara) studies attention, search, eye movements, learning, face and medical image perception using psychophysics, computational modeling, and EEG/fMRI techniques. He worked at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and NASA Ames before joining UC Santa Barbara. Messi fanatic.

James Elder (Professor and York Research Chair in Human and Computer Vision and Co-Director of the Centre for AI & Society at York University). His research seeks to improve machine vision systems through a better understanding of visual processing in biological systems. He has worked at Nortel and NEC Research and is co-founder of the AI start-up AttentiveVision.

Marc Ernst (Head of Applied Cognitive Psychology, Ulm, Germany) has a background in Physics and Cognitive Science. He worked at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, UC Berkeley, and at Bielefeld and Ulm University. His research interests are in multisensory perception and action (vision, touch, audition, vestibular, navigation, grasping), perceptual-motor learning, Human-Machine Interaction, and VR. Studies use both behavioral and computational modeling methods.

Debbie Giaschi (Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia) studies motion perception, binocular vision and reading in children and adults using psychophysics and MRI techniques. She is particularly interested in atypical development due to amblyopia or dyslexia.

Todd Horowitz (Program Director, Basic Biobehavioral & Psychological Sciences, NCI) is a cognitive psychologist, with a B.S. from Michigan State University (1990) and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1995). From 1995 to 2012, he worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He started as a post-doc with Jeremy Wolfe and then in 2000 was promoted to the faculty. He spent 12 years as a soft-money Principal Investigator before moving to the National Cancer Institute, where he is now a Program Director (i.e., program officer) in the Division Cancer Control and Population Sciences. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed research papers. Currently, he is working to engage cognitive psychologists and vision scientists with problems in cancer control, such as improving medical image interpretation, studying the cognitive effects of cancer and cancer treatments, and improving the effectiveness of visual health communications.

Kendrick Kay (Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota)’s research interests lie at the intersection of visual/cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging methods, and computational neuroscience. His lab combines expertise across different disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, neuroimaging, statistics, machine learning, and software engineering.

Michael Landy* (Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, NYU) has studied a wide range of topics, including depth perception, sensory cue integration, spatial vision including texture perception, perceptual decision-making, Bayesian models of all of the above, cortical adaptation and metacognition for both perceptual and motor tasks.

Sam Ling (Associate Professor, Boston University) uses psychophysics and brain imaging techniques to investigate the neural mechanisms that support basic vision, as well as to understand how early visual processes change in response to top-down signals, such as attention, learning, arousal and memory.

Rob McPeek (Professor, SUNY College of Optometry) studies eye movements, attention, and visual search in humans and monkeys, using behavioral and neural recording techniques. He formerly worked at The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.

Mary A. Peterson (Professor of Psychology and Director of the Cognitive Science Program, University of Arizona) uses behavioral experiments, neuroimaging, and patient work to examine the factors that influence perceptual organization, in particular, the detection of foreground objects against backgrounds. She is a proponent of women in STEM and of interdisciplinarity as exemplified by Cognitive Science.

Pawan Sinha (Professor of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT) studies visual neuroscience, combining experimentation and computational modeling. He majored in computer science in India and then came to the US planning to specialize in high-performance processor design. But, due partly to his interest in visual art, he soon changed his research focus to visual neuroscience. His lab is exploring the development of visual skills in typically developing children, as well as those who have gained sight after suffering several years of congenital visual deprivation. This effort, named Project Prakash, allows the lab to simultaneously pursue the twin goals of scientific discovery as well as societal service.

Viola Störmer (Assist. Prof., Dartmouth College) studies multisensory perception, in particular how sounds affects vision, selective attention, and working memory. Her lab uses a range of techniques to investigate these topics including psychophysics, experimental psychology, and EEG.

Bill Warren (Chancellor’s Professor of Cognitive Science, Brown University) uses virtual reality techniques to investigate the visual control of action, including optic flow, locomotion, collective behavior, and visual navigation. He has had an academic career and collaborated with movement scientists on visual-motor coordination, with biologists on insect flight control, with computer scientists on crowd dynamics, and with safety researchers on emergency evacuation.

Takeo Watanabe (Fred M. Seed Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences at Brown University) takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying vision using psychophysics, fMRI, and computational neural modeling. Research areas include motion perception, interaction of motion and form, attention and perceptual learning.

Yaffa Yeshurun (Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa) is interested in the interplay between spatial and temporal attention and various aspects of visual perception, including spatial and temporal resolution, internal noise, motion perception, perceived duration, spatial crowding and temporal crowding, relying mainly on behavioral measurements, but also pupillometry and occasionally computational modeling.


Please use our online Meet the Professors Registration Form. Online registration closes on April 21, 2023.