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Brian A. Wandell is the first Isaac and Madeline Stein Family Professor. He is a member of the Stanford Psychology faculty and a member, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering, Ophthalmology, and the Graduate School of Education. He directs Stanford's Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging, an MRI service center, and he was deputy director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute from 2013-2021. Wandell’s research centers on vision science, spanning topics from visual disorders, reading development in children, to digital imaging devices and algorithms for both magnetic resonance imaging and digital imaging. Wandell’s work in visual neuroscience uses functional, structural and quantitative MRI along with behavior testing and modeling to understand the action of the visual portions of the brain. His lab has worked to identify and then understand the organization of the visual field maps in the human brain, color and motion processing within these maps, the potential for reorganization following injury, and the development of the cortical circuitry for reading. The Wandell lab develops software tools for digital imaging applications. The software includes methods for analyzing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, as well as tools to design and evaluate cameras used in a range of applications: consumer photography, medical imaging, and artificial intelligence for automotive applications. Wandell's work has led to commercial applications including two companies that he co-founded, Imageval, LLC and Flywheel.io, LLC.
Visual perceptionProfessor Wandell's work in visual neuroscience uses both neuroimaging and computational models to understand the action of the visual portions of the brain. His team has developed a set of magnetic resonance imaging methods for identifying and measuring distinct and specialized regions of human visual cortex and the connections between them. His team has been particularly interested in measuring the development of brain function and reorganization following injury or abnormal development.Along with a group of colleagues around the world, Wandell is developing software simulations to model how light is encoded by the human eye and through advanced optics in new camera designs. The open-source ISET project generates physically realistic descriptions of three dimensional scene radiances and how they are transformed by the optics and then evoke responses in camera sensors or in the retinal and cortical circuitry of in the brain. (https://github.com/iset)Reading developmentThe Wandell lab is applying a powerful set of MRI measurement methodologies to study human brain development. These include diffusion measures, functional measures, and novel approaches for assessing quantitative tissue properties such as tissue volume and chemistry. In one group of studies, they are measuring the signals and growth of visual cortex in children, aged 8-12, during the period children become skilled readers. Using very high spatial resolution and neuroimaging techniques, including some methods developed by this group, the lab is hoping to understand how visual signals contribute to the neural pathways of reading. These measurements of the developmental changes during the acquisition of skilled reading are intended to explain how visual signals are rapidly identified and classified as we read.Data management and computational methodsIn support of reproducible research in neuroimaging, Professor Wandell and his team implemented a data and computational management system for medical imaging. The original system (Neurobiological Image Management System) was developed with the support of the Simons Foundation and used at the MRI Center Professor Wandell directs. That system has evolved into a commercial product that supports cloud-scale collaborative science (https://flywheel.io/). The Flywheel system is deployed at more than thirty neuroimaging research centers and companies around the world.