The McPherson Eye Research Institute is proud to announce the McPherson ERI-funded 2022 Hilldale Undergraduate Award recipient in vision research.
Abstract: Our eyes sense two-dimensional (2D) projections of the environment, like a movie on a screen, yet we perceive the world as three-dimensional (3D). To successfully interact with objects in our dynamic environment, the visual system needs to reconstruct 3D representations from these 2D retinal projections. However, the neuronal computations underlying this process remain relatively unknown. To investigate these computations, I propose the development of a biologically inspired convolutional neural network (CNN) that can perform various 3D visual discrimination tasks. I will then compare the performance and activity of artificial neurons from the network with behavioral and neuronal data previously collected from non-human primates that performed the same tasks. By combining our current knowledge of the visual system with recent advances in CNNs, this project aims to elucidate the neuronal mechanisms that transform 2D retinal images into accurate and precise 3D representations.
The Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship provides research training and support to undergraduates. Students have the opportunity to undertake their own research project in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. The student researcher receives a $3,000 stipend (purpose unrestricted) and faculty/staff research advisor receives a $1,000 stipend to help offset research costs (e.g., supplies, student travel related to the project). The McPherson Eye Research Institute sponsors one Hilldale Fellowship for vision-based research (including bioengineering, imaging, data visualization, cognitive psychology, ophthalmology, and general biology of the eye) each year.