2024 AV Order Form

Enhancing Accessibility Workshop

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 12:45 – 2:15 pm, Sabal/Sawgrass

Organized by: Rebecca Hornsey, University of Stirling and Jessica Parker, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (VSS Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee); Rowan Candy and Anya Hurlbert (VSS Diversity & Inclusion Committee) Moderator: Rebecca Hornsey, University of Stirling
Speakers: Lucas Nadólskis, UCSB; Yingzi Xiong, Johns Hopkins University; Annabel Nijhof, Ghent University
Panelists: Santani Teng, MIT; Lenia Amaral, Georgetown University

This event will address opportunities to make conferences and research laboratories more accessible for participants with visual, auditory and neurodivergence challenges. It will include presentations from conference attendees with experience in these areas, a panel discussion about steps we can all take to make academic environments more accessible, and roundtable discussions for the attendees. We will be collecting feedback at the event for ways the conference can have improved accessibility for attendees. 

Refreshments and light lunch will be available.

Lucas Gil Nadólskis

University of California, Santa Barbara

Lucas Gil Nadolskis is a first-year PhD student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, working in the Bionic Vision Lab under the supervision of Dr. Michael Beyeler. Despite being blind since the age of five, Lucas has dedicated his academic and research pursuits to advancing visual prosthetics. During his master’s program in Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Lucas collaborated with Professor Matthew Smith, analysing data collected from visual cortex implants in two monkeys. His current research deals with exploring neural correlations in blind and low-vision visual cortex, with a special emphasis on multimodal aspects of working memory. He is currently involved with the exploration of data coming from cortical brain implants from blind volunteers, with the goal of developing a smarter bionic eye.

Yingzi Xiong

Johns Hopkins University

Yingzi Xiong is an Assistant Professor at the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center at the Wilmer Eye Insititute, Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Xiong’s research is motivated by the questions of how the human brain learns new knowledge, adapts to changes, and rehabilitates after impairments occur. She seeks the answers to these questions in human vision and hearing, from both basic and translational science points of view. Her ongoing projects investigate the interaction of senses in real life activities to develop effective training methods, establish tools for clinical and self-assessment, and increase the accessibility of digital devices and environments.

Annabel Nijhof

Ghent University

Annabel Nijhof is a researcher in psychology / neuroscience at the Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology at Ghent University. She has obtained postdoctoral fellowships to work at King’s College London and Ghent University on projects related to the ‘self’ in autism. Generally, her research interests focus on the behavioural and neural processes underlying how we engage and interact with others, and how we distinguish the ‘self’ from the ‘other’. She is particularly interested in the similarities and differences in these processes between individuals with an autism diagnosis and neurotypical individuals. In addition, she is passionate about science communication.

Rebecca Hornsey

University of Stirling

Rebecca Hornsey is a Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, where she is currently working on a multisensory cue integration project to determine the types of cues which can be used to enhance visual search performance in complex, natural environments. Her research interests surround visual perception in virtual environments, particularly through the use of head-mounted display systems and psychophysical methodology. Rebecca is keen to liaise with other early career researchers and seasoned researchers, and to help improve the experience of those in the VSS community.

Unveiling the Potential of AI in Understanding Human Vision with Ethical Integration

Saturday, May 18, 2024, 12:45 – 2:15 pm EDT, Snowy Egret

Organizers: Akihito Maruya, State University of New York and Avi Aizenman, University of Giessen (VSS Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee); Shin’ya Nishida (VSS Board of Directors)
Moderator: Akihito Maruya, State University of New York
Speakers: Bei Xiao, American University; Miguel Eckstein, University of California, Santa Barbara; Thomas Wallis, TU Darmstadt

In recent years, AI has made significant strides, becoming accessible and implementable for many individuals without an extensive background in computer science. Can we harness AI’s capabilities to deepen our understanding of human vision while considering ethical implications? In this context, we introduce three pioneering speakers who currently leverage AI to enrich their comprehension of the visual system.

The first speaker conducts research on material perception through psychophysical experiments. She employs StyleGAN to systematically generate various material properties, delving into human material perception, and utilizes diverse large language models to establish connections between material perception and language. She will discuss the impact of AI on her research and understanding of vision, delve into technical details, and discuss the general issue about AI and Vision Science. A 20-minute presentation is followed by Q&A.

The second speaker utilizes AI to investigate covert attention, medical image search, and gaze perception. He will explore how AI influences his research and understanding of vision, providing technical insights and identifying potential AI-related challenges on Vision Science. Additionally, he will pose the broader question: Can deep neural networks perceive the world as humans do? By instructing neural networks based on human vision principles, can they demonstrate intelligent thinking and performance comparable to ours? A 20-minute presentation is followed by Q&A.

Finally, AI stands as a rapidly evolving technology with the potential to revolutionize research and innovation in unprecedented ways. However, this advancement comes with an equally significant responsibility: the ethical integration of AI into scientific workflows. The third speaker will delve into pressing ethical questions, guiding scientists on how to harness the power of AI while upholding ethical standards. Through a 20-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute Q&A session, he will offer insights into ethical AI integration, facilitating discussion on ethical practices in scientific endeavors.

Bei Xiao

American University

Bei Xiao is Provost Associate Professor of Computer Science at American University, where she leads the Computational Material Perception Laboratory. Her research focuses on how the human visual system estimate physical and functional properties of objects in our surroundings. Another focus of her research is to apply results from human perception and cognition to develop robust computer vision algorithms. Specifically, she studies perception and recognition of material properties, intuitive physics, estimation of 3D shape, perception of multi-sensory properties of objects in dynamic scenes. She uses a combination of human psychophysics, computer graphics, machine learning, image processing, and VR/AR techniques. Prior to joining AU, she was a postdoctoral associate in Brain and Cognitive Science at MIT. She also did a postdoctoral training at Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research has been funded by NIH, NSF, and Google Research.

Miguel Eckstein

Miguel Eckstein

UC Santa Barbara

Miguel Eckstein earned a Bachelor Degree in Physics and Psychology at UC Berkeley and a Doctoral Degree in Cognitive Psychology at UCLA. He then worked at the Department of Medical Physics and Imaging, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and NASA Ames Research Center before moving to UC Santa Barbara. He is recipient of the Optical Society of America Young Investigator Award, the Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) Image Perception Cum Laude Award, Cedars Sinai Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the National Academy of Sciences Troland Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has served as the chair of the Vision Technical Group of the Optical Society of America, chair of the Human Performance, Image Perception and Technology Assessment conference of the SPIE Medical Imaging Annual Meeting, Vision Editor of the Journal of the Optical Society of America A, the board of directors of the Vision Sciences Society, the board of editors of Journal of Vision, and as a member of National Institute of Health study section panels on Mechanisms of Sensory, Perceptual and Cognitive Processes and Biomedical Imaging Technology.

He has published over 200 articles relating to computational human vision, visual attention, search, perceptual learning, the perception of medical images.  He has published in journals/conferences spanning a wide range of disciplines: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Human Behavior, Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychological Science, PLOS Computational Biology, Annual Reviews in Vision Science, Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), IEEE Transactions in Medical Imaging, International Conference in Learning Representations (ICLR), Neuroimage, Academic Radiology, Journal of the Optical Society of America A, Medical Physics, Journal of Vision, Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception and Performance, Vision Research, and SPIE Medical Imaging.

Thomas S.A. Wallis

Thomas S.A. Wallis

Technische Universität Darmstadt

Thomas S.A. Wallis is the Professor for Perception at the Institute of Psychology and Centre for Cognitive Science, TU Darmstadt. His interests mostly focus on visual perception in humans and machines, but also include machine learning and cognitive modelling and applications of visual perception research (image quality, driving).

Thomas finished his PhD in Psychology in 2010 in Derek Arnold’s lab at the University of Queensland, Australia, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship with Peter Bex in Boston, before moving to Germany in 2013 to work with Felix Wichmann and Matthias Bethge. He spent two years working as a scientist at Amazon research before joining the TU Darmstadt as a professor in 2021.

More information can be found on his CV and he can also be found on Google scholarOrcid and Twitter. His pronouns are he/him (er/ihm).

Career Transitions Workshop

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 1:00 – 2:00 pm EDT, Snowy Egret

Organizers: Claudia Damiano, University of Toronto and Stephanie Shields, University of Texas at Austin (VSS Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee); Jody Culham (VSS Board of Directors)
Moderator: Claudia Damiano, University of Toronto
Speakers: Robert Geirhos, Google DeepMind; Joan Ongchoco, University of British Columbia: Woon Ju Park, University of Washington; Jake Whritner, Exponent

Back by popular demand! Following requests to repeat last year’s event, the VSS-SPC is hosting a panel discussion on early career transitions, from the undergraduate level up through securing faculty positions and jobs outside of academia. A panel of vision scientists with a variety of chosen career paths will discuss their stories, the transitions they’ve gone through in their careers, and how they made the key decisions that led them to their current jobs. After each panelist gives an overview of their story, audience members will be invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with the panel. The panel will include representatives from both academia and industry, so attendees will hear firsthand perspectives both on navigating academia and on transitioning between academia and industry. Especially given the recent layoffs in industry and the pandemic’s lasting impact on hiring in higher education, we hope the panel will provide useful insights into current trends affecting early career researchers and ideas for how trainees can increase their chances of success in today’s professional landscape.

Robert Geirhos

Robert Geirhos

Research Scientist, Google DeepMind

Robert Geirhos is a Research Scientist at Google DeepMind, located in Toronto. He obtained his PhD on comparing human and machine vision from the University of Tübingen and the International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, where he worked with Felix Wichmann, Matthias Bethge and Wieland Brendel. His research has received the ELLIS PhD award and an Outstanding Paper Award at NeurIPS. Inspired by research on human visual perception, Robert aims to develop a better understanding of the hypotheses, biases and assumptions of modern machine vision systems, and to use this understanding to make them more robust, interpretable and reliable. Dr. Geirhos’ website is https://robertgeirhos.com/.

Joan Ongchoco

Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Joan Ongchoco is an incoming Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and the director of the UBC Perception & Cognition Lab.  Before starting her lab, she decided to pursue a postdoctoral research fellowship at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin with Martin Rolfs. Prior to this, she obtained her PhD from Yale University, where she worked primarily with Brian Scholl. Joan is interested in the ways that perception — especially what we *see* — can interact with broader mental life. This includes exploring varieties of ‘everyday hallucinations’ we experience, as well as the consequences of event boundaries (such as doorways) on perception, memory, and decision-making. Her work draws connections across multiple areas and disciplines. She is the recipient of the 2021 William James Prize awarded by the Society of Philosophy and Psychology.

Woon Ju Park

Research Scientist, University of Washington

Woon Ju Park is an incoming Assistant Professor in Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology starting this August. She completed her PhD in Brain and Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester working with Dr. Duje Tadin. She is currently a NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence fellow and Research Scientist in Dr. Ione Fine’s lab at the University of Washington. Woon Ju is particularly interested in understanding how experience and atypical development affect sensory processing. She has studied this in diverse human populations, including children with ASD, older adults, and those with early or late-onset visual impairments. Her current research focuses on understanding the effects of early blindness on the structure and function of the brain. To learn more about Woon Ju’s academic journey and current research, please visit her website

Jake Whritner

Human Factors Senior Scientist, Exponent

Jake Whritner earned his PhD in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, where he used human psychophysics to study 3D motion perception. His dissertation work tested the contribution of various depth and motion cues that the human visual system relies on to interact with the dynamic 3D world. At Exponent, Jake extends his expertise to practical applications, such as analyzing human factors related to motor vehicle accidents, warnings, and slip/trip and falls. He also uses mixed methods to assess user behavior to inform product design and risk assessment through surveys, interviews, and user studies.

Claudia Damiano (Moderator)

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Toronto

Claudia Damiano is a Research Associate (senior postdoctoral researcher) at the University of Toronto, working with Dirk Bernhardt-Walther. She previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Leuven, Belgium, working with Johan Wagemans. Broadly, her research aims to understand how visual features impact aesthetic preferences and guide attention. Her work contributes to our understanding of the relationship between human perception and the appreciation of natural environments. Claudia has served as a panelist on similar early-career panels, offering advice to Master’s and PhD students about transitioning to a postdoc position. As a moderator, she will ensure that the panel offers valuable insights and actionable advice to attendees.

2024 US Funding Workshop

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Banyan/Citrus

Moderator: Geoffrey Boynton, University of Washington
Discussants: Simon Fischer-Baum, National Science Foundation (NSF); Cheri Wiggs, National Eye Institute (NEI); and Ed Clayton, National Eye Institute (NEI) – Training Division

You have a great research idea, but you need money to make it happen. You need to write a grant. This workshop will address various funding mechanisms for vision research. Our panelists will discuss their organization’s interests and priorities, and give insight into the inner workings of their extramural research programs. There will be time for your questions.

Geoffrey Boynton

University of Washington

Geoffrey Boynton, is a VSS Board Member and studies visual attention, reading and prosthetic vision. After studying mathematics at U.C. San Diego and U.C. Santa Barbara, Dr. Boynton received a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1994. After a decade at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, he joined the faculty at the University of Washington. In 2019 led an effort to develop a research MRI facility at the new Center for Human Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology which he now directs. He also teaches courses on visual perception and statistics.

Simon Fischer-Baum

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Simon Fischer-Baum is a rotating Program Director for the Perception, Action, and Cognition Program at the National Science Foundation and an Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences at Rice University. His portfolio at the NSF includes PAC, Computational Cognition, and cross-directorate neuroscience programs, and his own  research focuses on the cognitive and neural underpinnings of our ability to read and write, across different populations and writing systems.

Cheri Wiggs

National Eye Institute (NEI)

Cheri Wiggs, Ph.D., serves as a Program Director at the National Eye Institute (of the National Institutes of Health). She oversees extramural funding through three programs — Perception & Psychophysics, Myopia & Refractive Errors, and Low Vision & Blindness Rehabilitation. She received her PhD from Georgetown University in 1991 and came to the NIH as a researcher in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition. She made her jump to the administrative side of science in 1998 as a Scientific Review Officer. She currently represents the NEI on several trans-NIH coordinating committees (including BRAIN, Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, Medical Rehabilitation Research) and was appointed to the NEI Director’s Audacious Goals Initiative Working Group.

Dr. Ed Clayton

Ed Clayton

National Eye Institute (NEI) – Training Division

Dr. Ed Clayton joined the National Eye Institute in July 2023 as a Program Director in the Training Division. He received his BS in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and his PhD in Psychobiology from the University of Virginia. After a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the role of the locus coeruleus in decision making, he joined the Center for Scientific Review’s Intern Program.  After a year he was hired as a Scientific Review Officer in the Integrative, Functional, and Cognitive Neuroscience Integrated Review Group. During his time there, he was the SRO for the Auditory System and Neurobiology of Motivated Behaviors study sections. In 2012, Ed moved on to take the position of Director of Scientific Review at Autism Speaks. In 2013 he was promoted to Senior Director of Strategic Funding and Grants Administration where he oversaw the science funding program, as well as managed the  predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship programs. In 2015 Ed joined the Princeton Neuroscience Institute as their Director of Training and Professional Development. In this position Ed managed the Institute’s T32 program, led NSF and NIH grant workshops, started a monthly alternative career seminar series, served on the admissions committee, and Chaired both the Curriculum and Climate and Inclusion Committees. He also oversaw an NSF REU summer internship program, focused on providing research experiences to students from small colleges and from historically underrepresented groups.

2023 US Funding Workshop

Sunday, May 21, 2023, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Jasmine/Palm

Moderator: Geoffrey Boynton, University of Washington
Discussants: Todd Horowitz, National Cancer Institute; Tatiana Pasternak, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH); Betty Tuller, National Science Foundation; and Cheri Wiggs, National Eye Institute (NIH)

You have a great research idea, but you need money to make it happen. You need to write a grant. This workshop will address various funding mechanisms for vision research. Our panelists will discuss their organization’s interests and priorities, and give insight into the inner workings of their extramural research programs. There will be time for your questions.

Todd Horowitz

National Eye Institute (NIH)

Todd Horowitz, is a Program Director in the Behavioral Research Program’s (BRP) Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch (BBPSB), located in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Horowitz earned his doctorate in Cognitive Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1995. Prior to joining NCI, he was Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Director of the Visual Attention Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed research papers in vision science and cognitive psychology. His research interests include attention, perception, medical image interpretation, cancer-related cognitive impairments, sleep, and circadian rhythms.

Tatiana Pasternak

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH)

Tatiana Pasternak, is a Scientific Review Officer at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS). Since she joined NINDS in 2020, she has been focused on overseeing the review of applications submitted to the BRAIN Initiative, the funding mechanism supported by 10 NIH institutes, including the National Eye Institute. Prior to joining NINDS, she was a tenured Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Rochester with an active research program focused on cortical circuits underlying visual perception and working memory in the primate brain. Throughout her academic career, she has participated in the NIH and NSF peer review, serving as a permanent member on several NIH study sections as well as on many other review panels. As one of the founding members of the Vision Science Society, she has served for several years on its Board of Directors and for two years as its President.

Betty Tuller

National Science Foundation

Betty Tuller, serves as a Director of the Perception, Action and Cognition Program at the National Science Foundation, where she also serves on the management team for programs in Computational Cognition, the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, the NSF AI Institutes, Smart Health and Biomedical Research in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Science, and Collaborative Research in Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Tuller earned her doctorate from the University of Connecticut in 1980, then completed post-doctoral work at Cornell University Medical Center and NYU Medical Center. Prior to joining NSF, she was Professor of Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University.

Cheri Wiggs

National Eye Institute (NIH)

Cheri Wiggs, Ph.D., serves as a Program Director at the National Eye Institute (of the National Institutes of Health). She oversees extramural funding through three programs — Perception & Psychophysics, Myopia & Refractive Errors, and Low Vision & Blindness Rehabilitation. She received her PhD from Georgetown University in 1991 and came to the NIH as a researcher in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition. She made her jump to the administrative side of science in 1998 as a Scientific Review Officer. She currently represents the NEI on several trans-NIH coordinating committees (including BRAIN, Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, Medical Rehabilitation Research) and was appointed to the NEI Director’s Audacious Goals Initiative Working Group.

Geoffrey Boynton

University of Washington

Geoffrey Boynton, is a VSS Board Member and studies visual attention, reading and prosthetic vision. After studying mathematics at U.C. San Diego and U.C. Santa Barbara, Dr. Boynton received a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1994. After a decade at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, he joined the faculty at the University of Washington. In 2019 led an effort to develop a research MRI facility at the new Center for Human Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology which he now directs. He also teaches courses on visual perception and statistics.

2023 Career Transitions Workshop, Part 1: Early Career Panel

Sunday, May 21, 2023, 7:30– 8:30 pm, Jasmine/Palm

Organized by: VSS Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPC)

Organizers: Claudia Damiano, KU Leuven; Stephanie Shields, The University of Texas at Austin; Maruti V Mishra, University of Richmond
Moderator: Claudia Damiano, KU Leuven
Panelists: Angelica Godinez, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin; Sabrina Hansmann-Roth, University of Iceland; Madhu Mahadevan, Magic Leap; N Apurva Ratan Murty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alex White, Barnard College

Career transitions are both exciting and scary. Some of the uncertainty regarding a new role, however, can be reduced by talking to others who have made similar transitions. This year VSS-SPC and FoVea together present a two-part ‘Career Transitions Workshop’ on navigating these diverse pathways, with Part 1: Early Career Panel and Part 2: Where do I go from here? Round-Table Discussion.

Part 1 will feature a panel discussion on early career transitions, from the undergraduate level up through securing faculty positions and jobs outside of academia. A panel of vision scientists with a variety of chosen career paths will discuss their stories, the transitions they’ve gone through in their careers, and how they made the key decisions that led them to their current jobs. After each panelist gives an overview of their story, audience members will be invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with the panel. The panel will include representatives from both academia and industry, so attendees will hear firsthand perspectives both on navigating academia and on transitioning between academia and industry. Especially given the recent layoffs in industry and the pandemic’s lasting impact on hiring in higher education, we hope the panel will provide useful insights into current trends affecting early career researchers and ideas for how trainees can increase their chances of success in today’s professional landscape.

Following this panel discussion, participants will be invited to attend Part 2 of the Career Transitions Workshop, where they can take part in small group discussions and enjoy light snacks and drinks.

Note: All are welcome to attend both parts of this workshop, to only attend Part 1, or to only attend Part 2.

Angelica Godinez

Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Angie, is a vision scientist and postdoctoral researcher working in Martin Rolfs’ Active perception and Cognition lab at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and in the German Excellence cluster Science of Intelligence. As part of the cluster, her research is aimed at understanding visual processing for perception and action as an attempt to improve current models of perceptual processing and contribute insights to AI and robotics. Prior to her postdoc, Angie received a BS in Psychology and MS in Human Factors and Ergonomics from San Jose State University. During this time, she worked in the Visuomotor Control Lab at NASA Ames Research Center where she conducted low-level vision research (i.e., eye-movement responses to changes in stimulus contrast and luminance) and applied research on the physiological changes due to vibration and acceleration. For her PhD in vision science at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked with Dennis M. Levi on the impact, recovery and possible adaptations of poor binocular vision. While at Berkeley, she completed an internship at NVIDIA where she applied her knowledge of visual processing to gaze-contingent rendering in an attempt to reduce bandwidth and increase rendering speed in computer graphics.

Sabrina Hansmann-Roth

Assistant Professor, University of Iceland

Sabrina Hansmann-Roth, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iceland and a Co-PI of the Icelandic Vision Lab. She obtained her PhD from Université Paris Descartes followed by postdoctoral positions at the University of Iceland and the University of Lille. She is interested in the mechanisms used to represent information in visual memory. For that, she investigates probabilistic representations of visual ensembles, visual priming and perceptual biases such as serial dependence. She was a former member of the VSS Student-Postdoctoral Advisory Committee and looking forward to this year’s career transitions workshop, sharing her experiences and discussing with ECRs and the other panelists.

Madhu Mahadevan

Research Scientist, Magic Leap

Dr. Madhu Mahadevan is a vision research scientist at Magic Leap, Inc. She started her career as a clinical optometrist in India with a primary focus on low vision eye care and contact lens management. She then completed her PhD working with Dr. Scott Stevenson on visual attention and eye movements from the University of Houston, College of Optometry, TX. During her doctoral program, she was a research intern at Nvidia, Santa Clara, CA working on auto calibration of eye trackers in virtual reality headsets. After graduation, she joined as a user experience researcher at Human Interfaces, Austin, TX where she used product research methods to help multiple stakeholders interested in enhancing user experience across consumer and enterprise products. She is currently working at Magic Leap, Inc on their augmented reality headset where she uses applied vision concepts and optometric principles in conjunction with product research methods to evaluate design decisions and make optimal choices to help users have a comfortable viewing experience.

N Apurva Ratan Murty

Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ratan received his PhD in Neuroscience from the Center for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His PhD research with Prof. S.P. Arun elucidated the computational mechanisms underlying viewpoint invariant representations in the monkey inferotemporal cortex. He is currently a NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence fellow and Research Scientist at MIT with Profs. Nancy Kanwisher and Jim DiCarlo. In his current research, he uses methods from cognitive neuroscience, human neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and artificial intelligence, to investigate the development and cortical organization of human visual intelligence.

Alex White

Assistant Professor, Barnard College

Alex White has been studying vision since he first attended VSS as an undergraduate in 2006. He is particularly interested in visual word recognition, selective attention, eye movements, and awareness. He got his PhD working with Dr. Marisa Carrasco at NYU in 2013. After a meandering but fruitful postdoctoral journey, he started a faculty position at Barnard College in 2021. An NIH K99/R00 award facilitated that transition. For more information on his current research, see his lab website. Alex also co-organizes the Visibility events at this conference.

Claudia Damiano

Postdoctoral Researcher, KU Leuven

Claudia Damiano holds a PhD from the University of Toronto (2019) and is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, specializing in scene perception and visual aesthetics. Broadly, her research aims to understand how visual features impact aesthetic preferences and guide attention. In her current project, she explores the cognitive and emotional benefits of interacting with nature using eye-tracking and virtual reality techniques. Her work contributes to our understanding of the relationship between human perception and the appreciation of natural environments. Claudia has served as a panelist on similar early-career panels, offering advice to Master’s and PhD students about transitioning to a postdoc position. As a moderator, she will ensure that the panel offers valuable insights and actionable advice to attendees.

2023 Workshop for PhD Students and Postdocs

Strategies for Funding your Research Ideas Around the Globe

Saturday, May 20, 2023, 12:45 – 2:15 pm, Sabal/Sawgrass

Moderator: Krystel Huxlin, University of Rochester, USA
Panelists: Reuben Rideaux, University of Sydney; Martin Rolfs, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Miriam Spering, University of British Columbia

Success in obtaining grant funding for your research ideas is a hallmark of success in academia, and increasingly, in private industry. This workshop features panelists who will provide perspectives on strategies to attain funding success. Topics will include: what constitutes a fundable research idea, opportunities and strategies for developing grantsmanship as a graduate student or postdoc – including those pertinent to diversity, how granting opportunities differ in different countries, how grants are evaluated by granting agencies, and best practices for reacting and responding to grant evaluations in a manner that ultimately leads to funding success.

Reuben Rideaux

University of Sydney

Reuben Rideaux is an ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of Sydney, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute. Prior to this, he was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a PhD student at the Australian National University. He combines computational modelling, neuroimaging, and psychophysics to study perception and cognition. He has a particular interest in developing new methods for understanding brain function, such as bio-inspired explainable AI, high resolution functional MR spectroscopy, and neural decoding. He leads the ECR subcommittee of the Australian Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and regularly speaks about his work to research groups, clinicians, and the media. In addition to supervision of graduate and postgraduate students, he enjoys participating in public outreach activities aimed at communicating the importance sensory and cognitive neuroscience research to the public, e.g., Cambridge BrainFest, and encouraging school students consider a career in neuroscience research, e.g., BrainBee.

Martin Rolfs

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Martin Rolfs heads the Active Perception and Cognition lab at the Department of Psychology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He obtained his PhD from the University of Potsdam in 2007, for which he received the Heinz Heckhausen Award, and was a postdoc at Université Paris Descartes and a Marie Curie fellow at New York University and Aix-Marseille Université. In 2012, he established a junior research group at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience before, he was appointed Heisenberg Professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2018. His research is funded by the German Research foundation (DFG) and the European Research Council (ERC), and he is a core PI at Berlin’s Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence. 

Miriam Spering

University of British Columbia

Miriam Spering is Associate Professor in Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She also is Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Education in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. Before moving to Canada, Spering completed her undergraduate (Univ Heidelberg, Diploma in Psychology) and graduate education (Univ Giessen, PhD in Psychology) in Germany and postdoctoral training in the US (NYU, Psychology & Neuroscience). Spering has a notable record of scientific achievements in the vision sciences, with a research focus on eye movements, perception-action interrelations, multisensory integration, and disorders of the sensorimotor system. The recipient of many awards for research and mentorship, she has broad experience in senior academic and research leadership roles, advancing graduate training, interdisciplinarity, and wellbeing, equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Spering is funded by several of the major Canadian funding agencies, and has extensive experience mentoring students to obtain their own fellowship and grant funding.

Krystel Huxlin

University of Rochester

Krystel Huxlin is the James V. Aquavella Professor of Ophthalmology and Associate Chair for Research at the University of Rochester (UR)’s Flaum Eye Institute. She also serves as the Associate Director of UR’s Center for Visual Science and co-Director of its Training program. She is a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Executive Committee, and an Ombudsperson for graduate students and postdocs at the UR Medical Center. Huxlin earned her bachelors (1991) and doctorate (1994) degrees in Neuroscience at the University of Sydney, Australia. She was an Australian NHMRC C.J. Martin postdoctoral fellow at UR before joining its Ophthalmology faculty (1999). Her work seeks to understand how visual functions can be restored after damage to the visual system, as well as to characterize the properties of, and mechanisms underlying different forms of vision restoration. She holds 10 patents, was the inaugural President of the Rochester SFN Chapter, is an editor at eLife and Journal of Vision, and a member of the VSS Board of Directors.

Open Science Workshop on Preregistration for Program

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Organizers: Sabrina Hansmann-Roth, University of Lille; Björn Jörges, York University
Moderator: Sabrina Hansmann-Roth, University of Lille
Speakers: William Ngiam, University of Chicago; Janna Wennberg, UC San Diego

Preregistration has been proposed as a tool to accelerate scientific advancement by making scientific results more robust, more reproducible, and more replicable. In this workshop, we will briefly go over the advantages of preregistered studies and the registered report publication format, and then delve deeper into the practicalities of preregistering studies as applied to the Vision Sciences. A range of topics will be discussed, such as proper specification and formalization of hypotheses, predictions, and data analysis pipelines as well as power analyses. There will also be an introduction to how registered reports go beyond preregistration and can help combat publication bias in the literature.

William Ngiam

University of Chicago

William Ngiam is a postdoctoral researcher in the Awh and Vogel Lab at the University of Chicago, studying how learning and experience influence the representation of visual information in memory, and leveraging that to understand the capacity limits of visual working memory. He is an active advocate for reform to improve science – he serves on the steering committee of ReproducibiliTea, a grassroots initiative to form Open Science communities at academic institutions, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Reproducibility in Neuroscience, a non-profit diamond open access journal. You can follow him on Twitter @will_ngiam.

Janna Wennberg

UC San Diego

Janna Wennberg is a third-year Ph.D student in psychology at UC San Diego. With Dr. John Serences, she uses behavior, fMRI, and computational modeling to investigate how flexible neural codes support visual attention and working memory. She became interested in open science as an undergraduate through her work with Dr. Julia Strand, a speech perception researcher and leader in the open science movement. She realized that open science practices such as preregistration and registered reports have served as valuable training opportunities for her, and she is interested in exploring how scientific reforms can be tools both for improving research and training early career researchers.

Sabrina Hansmann-Roth

University of Lille

Sabrina Hansmann-Roth is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lille and the Icelandic Vision Lab. Before that, she obtained her Ph.D. from the Université Paris Descartes. She is interested in the mechanisms used to represent information in visual memory. For that, she investigates probabilistic representations of visual ensembles, visual priming and perceptual biases such as serial dependence. Beyond that, and as a member of the SPC, she is passionate about discussing Open Science particular for Early Career Researchers. Contact Sabrina at or on Twitter: @SHansmann_Roth

Connect With Industry

Saturday, May 14, 2022, 12:45 – 2:15 pm EDT, Horizons

Refreshments and snacks will be available

To reflect the range of interests and career goals of VSS attendees, we are pleased to offer our popular ‘Connect with Industry’ event at VSS 2022. This is an opportunity for our members to interact with representatives of industry and government agencies.

Representatives from companies including Apple, Exponent, Magic Leap, Meta and VPixx will be present to discuss opportunities for vision scientists in their companies and to answer questions about collaborating with, and working within, their organizations.

Two 45-minute sessions will be scheduled (12:45 – 1:30 pm and 1:30 – 2:15 pm). Drop in for one, or stay for both time slots. Representatives will present an introduction to their company/agency at the start of both sessions (12:45 and 1:30 pm).

No sign-ups are required. Although light snacks will be served, please feel free to bring your brown bag lunch to enjoy during the event.

All VSS attendees are welcome.

Vision Sciences Society