Primary Department Affiliation: Vision Sciences
Primary Research Area: Systems Neuroscience and Vision
The primary focus of my work is to determine how information is encoded and processed in the brain, especially how it relates to vision and the process by which the brain can take the simple patterns of light and dark from the photoreceptors in the retina and from them build up coherent percepts. The basic principles by which the nervous system performs this task remain unknown.
Currently it is not known how any system, biological or artificial, can perform the task of perception, making this one of the most fundamental issues of modern science. I am especially interested in how the visual system works in the ecologically natural condition where the image on the retina is changed via eye movements. I use a variety of techniques in my lab, including recording from single neurons and small groups of neurons, mostly in visual cortex, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the visual system of awake behaving primates, in combination with modeling and theoretical techniques.
Timothy J. Gawne, Associate Professor, Department of Vision Sciences, received his undergraduate training in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA (B.S. 1978). He then worked as a software engineer at the Digital Equipment Corporation in Marlborough, MA for two years, following which he began doctoral studies in physiology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda MD (Ph.D. 1985). He was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Robert Goldstein in the Dept. of
Medicine, USUHS, and later a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Barry Richmond, Laboratory of Neuropsychology, Bethesda, MD, where he remained until he joined the faculty at UAB. His other activities include creative welding, watching bad science fiction movies, and dealing with his two children and various associated domestic animals.