The long-term goal of Dr. Bill Newsome's research is to understand the neuronal processes that mediate visual perception and visually guided behavior. To this end they are conducting parallel behavioral and physiological experiments in animals that are trained to perform selected perceptual or eye movement tasks. By recording the activity of cortical neurons during performance of such tasks, they gain initial insights into the relationship of neuronal activity to the animal's behavioral capacities. Hypotheses concerning this relationship are tested by modifying neural activity within local cortical circuits to determine whether behavior is effected in a predictable manner. Computer modelling techniques are then used to develop more refined hypotheses concerning the relationship of brain to behavior that are both rigorous and testable. This combination of behavioral, electrophysiological and computational techniques provides a realistic basis for neurophysiological investigation of cognitive functions such as perception, memory and motor planning.
Dr. Bill Newsome is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He received a B.S. degree in physics from Stetson University and a Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Newsome is a leading investigator in systems and cognitive neuroscience. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception and simple forms of decision making.