Current Lab members
Kristina Visscher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neurobiology
The work in my lab at UAB has integrated my previous work examining the neural basis of cognitive control (using functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) and my work examining how sensory representations are influenced by context (using behavioral/psychophysics methods, as well as the neuroimaging methods EEG and fMRI). My research interest is to understand how cognitive control mechanisms affect sensory processing, and how this cognitive control is modified by experience.
My research area focuses on the extent of brain plasticity in individuals with severe vision impairments. My recent work examines experience-based brain plasticity especially in older populations with low vision. By using MRI I investigate cortical activity following deafferentation from retinal input as well as cortical layer-specific dynamics of the visual system.
Behavioral Neuroscience Program
The research I am doing involves training people with healthy vision to better use their peripheral vision. I am interested in whether visual training influences the way people use their attention during a visual task. I am also interested in what changes take place in the brain following training.
I am interested in retinotopy in individuals with macular degeneration. Retinotopy describes the neatly organized mapping of visual input from the eye to the brain. I use fMRI to see if losing central vision changes the organization of activity and physical characteristics of the brain, such as thickness.
I am generally interested in brain plasticity and sensory processing. Currently, my project focuses on how the brain adapts to vision loss. More specifically, I am using fMRI approaches to investigate how brain regions involved in visual processing change in individuals with macular degeneration. To this end, I am exploring how functional connectivity in visual areas relates to visual performance in macular degeneration patients.
I research healthy aging in an 85+ population of mentally and physically healthy adults. I am interested in how brain regions are physically connected to one anther, the validity of psychological tests in older populations, and how the brain can be resilient to the effects of aging and diseases associated with age.
Vision Science Program
My research interest lies in understanding how experience influences the brain’s ability to compensate for vision loss through changes in eye movements and attention. Importantly, how this knowledge can be used to develop more effective training strategies in the clinical setting.
Undergraduate Research Assistants