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Michael Savage, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, has been awarded an NEI/NIH F32 grant to study the relationship between neuronal orientation and color selectivity in the primary visual cortex.

The grant is for three years, totaling $136,823. It has been 20 years since one of these competitive postdoctoral grants from NEI was won by someone in the UAB School of Optometry.

The research related to this grant is focused on understanding how the basic building blocks of vision are organized in the brain on a fine scale. The goal is to produce a cell-by-cell map for the functional configuration of the primary visual cortex.

“This is a good example of very basic research,” Savage said. “We need to understand this organization because we know that, later in the visual system, sensitivity to color and form may be processed separately, but we don't yet know how this is accomplished. Ultimately, we need to know this if we want to help those with visual deficits that are located in the cerebral cortex of the brain.” 

His supervisors for this research are Lawrence Sincich, PhD, UAB School of Optometry professor and Paul Gamlin, PhD, UAB School of Medicine professor. Savage received his PhD in 2017 from Newcastle University in England working under Professor Alex Thiele.