Information about our lab

Our lab uses neuroimaging and behavioral methods to how human brain function changes with experience, and how that change is altered with aging.  We are particularly interested in understanding humans’ remarkable ability to process inputs from the environment flexibly.  We can process the same information in different ways at different times.  This capacity changes with experience and with age, and we seek to understand the mechanisms behind those change.

Dr. Visscher is the Co-Director of the Civitan International Neuroimaging Laboratory, which houses a state of the art 3 Tesla MRI scanner, allowing high resolution images of human brain structure and function. We are part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Neurobiology. To donate to the work of the lab, or to Neurobiology, please go to this website.

To volunteer to be a part of any of our studies, please go to the Join A Study section of our site.  We are always looking for people who are interested in helping research move forward.  And because we try to match people with macular degeneration to people with healthy vision of the same age, we need a database of people of all ages and backgrounds!  Please consider signing up.

The following is a description of some of the major projects going on in the lab:

  • One major focus of the lab is to understand how people who have lost central vision due to macular degeneration adapt and start to use peripheral vision for everyday life. This project is part of the larger human connectome project, which will map the brain’s connections.
  • Another focus of the lab is to characterize the brains of healthy agers. This is part of the McKnight Brain Aging Registry, a consortium of 4 institutions (UAB, University of Florida, University of Arizona, University of Miami), and is funded by the McKnight Brain Institute
  • A third focus is to examine plasticity through training the visual system. We are training people to use peripheral vision for reading and recognizing faces.  Using some of the neuroimaging and behavioral tools described above, we identify whether and how that training influences the way peripheral visual information is processed.