Explore UAB

by Nathan Anderson

Cyril Nyankerh, OD, Vision Science Graduate Program (VSGP) student, was awarded the Members-in-Training (MIT) Outstanding Poster Award for the Visual Neuroscience section at ARVO 2023, the premiere gathering for eye and vision scientists at all career stages.

“I was thrilled to receive an email notifying me that my work had received one of the highest five scores in my topical section, which put me in the final competition,” Nyankerh said. “After winning at the final, I realized that this award is a great honor and a testament to the dedication I have put into my research.

“Knowing that esteemed colleagues in my field have recognized my work as exceptional is truly humbling. Participating in the competition allowed me to expand my professional network and forge connections with other researchers in my field. These connections may lead to valuable collaborations and career prospects in the future.”

Nyankerh’s poster was titled “Summation of responses from stimulated cone pairs in macaque V1 neurons,” and focused on his PhD experiments that aim to better understand how individual cone photoreceptor signals are processed by neurons in primary visual cortex.

“This is the first-time single cone-targeted responses have been examined in individual neurons in primary visual cortex, the cortical area we call V1,” Nyankerh said. “By doing this research, we are addressing fundamental questions about how signals from individual cone photoreceptors are processed in the V1 neurons dedicated to encoding form and color information.”

The results of his research suggest that cones combine their signals nonlinearly in V1 and the summation behavior is dependent on stimulus intensity. 

He believes that his research would not have been possible without UAB being a top performing research University.

“There is a research environment here that made this work possible,” Nyankerh said. “Professor Sincich’s lab team has been very helpful in conducting experiments and analyzing data, in particular, Dr. Philipp Tellers, Dr. Alexander Meadway and Neuroengineering PhD student Keaton Ramsey.”

UAB’s VSGP, which is run by the UAB School of Optometry, stood out to Nyankerh from other schools when he was deciding where to pursue a PhD. The University brought him to Birmingham, which allowed him the opportunity to meet faculty members and discover the research being conducted here. That experience solidified his choice to become a vision science doctoral student at UAB.

Nyankerh received his Doctor of Optometry degree at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2015 and believes that the feedback from his poster will give him new insights and ideas into future investigations while attaining his PhD.