Allan Dobbins

Allan Dobbins

Associate Professor
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Hoehn 350
(205) 934-5529

Research and Teaching Interests: Neural basis of visual perception, Attention, Traumatic brain injury

Office Hours: M-TH 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.; or by appointment

  • Ph.D. McGill University, Computational Vision 
  • Postdoctoral, Caltech, Visual Neuroscience    

I began in psychology and worked in a visual neurophysiology as an undergraduate. I then completed a series of degrees in electrical engineering, doing graduate work in a computer vision and robotics lab. My work in graduate school was some of the early work in the field of computational neuroscience.

My main interest through the years has been in understanding how we see — understanding the neural circuits and dynamics that underlie how the brain assembles the most probable interpretation of what is out there in the visible world. Recently I have been examining the question of how we dynamically assemble the brain networks required to perform a cognitive task. We are using perceptual techniques developed in our lab in combination with functional MRI and magneto-encephalography to understand the brain networks and their temporal dynamics.

In addition to my long standing interest in vision, I have recently been working on understanding sports-induced traumatic brain injury via a mix of modeling and experiments. This is collaborative work with a group of experts in mechanics and materials, neuroscience and medicine. My personal interests include squash, skiing, sailing, and reading.

Recent Courses

  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Quantitative Physiology
  • Computational Vision

Select Publications

  • Dobbins, A., Zucker, S.W., & Cynader, M.S. (1987). Endstopping in the visual cortex as a substrate for calculating curvature. Nature, 329:438-441.
  • Zucker, S.W., Dobbins, A., & Iverson, L. (1989). Two stages of curve detection suggest two styles of neural computation. Neural Computation, 1:68-81.
  • Dobbins, A., Jeo, R., Fiser, J., & Allman, J. (1998) Distance Modulation of Neural Activity in the Visual Cortex. Science. 281:552-555.
  • Grossmann, J. and Dobbins, A. (2003) Differential Ambiguity Reduces Grouping of Metastable Objects. Vision Res. 43: 359-369.
  • Lee, H.S. and Dobbins, A. (2006) Stereo Fusional Limit and Panum’s Limiting Case Revisited Using Dichoptic Color Mixing. Perception, 35: 31-39.
  • Grossmann, J. and Dobbins, A. (2006) Competition in Bistable Vision is Attribute-specific. Vision Res. 46: 285-292.
  • Dobbins, A.C. and Grossmann, J.K. (2010) Asymmetries in Perception of 3D Orientation. PLoS ONE 5(3): e9553. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009553.
  • Nowak, P., Dobbins, A.C., Gawne, T.J, Grzywacz, N.M. and Amthor, F.R. (2011) Separability of Stimulus Parameter Encoding by On-Off Directionally Selective Rabbit Retinal Ganglion Cells. J. Neurophysiol. 105 (5): 2083-2099 online: February 16, 2011; doi:10.1152/jn.00941.2010.
  • Bowman, A.D., Griffis, J.C., Visscher, K.M., Dobbins, A.C., Gawne, T.J., DiFrancesco, M.W., Szaflarski, J.P. Relationship Between Alpha Rhythm and the Default Mode Network: An EEG-fMRI Study. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology. 34(6):527-533, November 2017. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000411.
  • Dobbins, A.C. and Grossmann, J.K. Can Rotational Grouping be Determined by the Initial Conditions? i-Perception (in press).

Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies

  • Geddes Prize for work Endstopping and Curvature (McGill University, 1989)
  • International Brain Research Organization
  • Organization for Human Brain Mapping
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Vision Sciences Society