Rich Krauzlis, PhD
Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute
Talk Title: New perspectives on visual attention
Abstract: Attention is commonly believed to be controlled by a network of areas in the cerebral cortex, with frontal and parietal cortex regulating limited resources available in the sensory areas of cortex. However, subcortical structures like the superior colliculus also play a role in attention, and in this talk I will explain how our investigation of the superior colliculus has led us to a very different view of how attention is controlled. I will present evidence that the superior colliculus plays a crucial role in the control of spatial attention, but surprisingly, the mechanisms used by the superior colliculus appear to be independent of the well-known signatures of spatial attention in visual cortex. These recent results demonstrate that processes beyond the well-known correlates in extrastriate cortex play a major role in visual spatial attention. Furthermore, based on recent results from fMRI and physiology experiments in my lab, as well as clues from neuroanatomy and disorders of attention, I speculate that the brain mechanisms for attention are based on an evolutionarily conserved ciruit motif that predates the emergence of the neocortex.
About: Rich Krauzlis earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and doctorate in Neuroscience from UC San Francisco, in Steve Lisberger’s laboratory. After postdoctoral training with Fred Miles and Bob Wurtz at the National Eye Institute, he was recruited to the Salk Institute in 1997, where he was promoted to Full Professor in the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory. In 2011, Rich returned to the NEI as a Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research and Chief of the section on Eye Movements and Visual Selection. Work in Rich’s laboratory is aimed at understanding the brain mechanisms that link motor control to sensory and cognitive processing, using a variety of techniques to manipulate and monitor neural activity. Rich’s vita includes papers on pursuit and saccadic eye movements, physiological studies of the superior colliculus, cerebellum, and cerebral cortex, psychophysical studies of visual motion perception and visual attention, and computational modeling of eye movements.