Kanwisher Lab


Pramod RT (pramodrt at mit dot edu)
The brain is an extraordinary machine -- it processes a lot of information at astonishing speeds to enable us to go about our everyday lives. What kind of information is represented where (and when) in the brain? What are the underlying computations? As a postdoctoral researcher with Nancy Kanwisher, I am working towards answering these questions using ECoG, Neuroimaging and computational modeling. Prior to this, I obtained my PhD from the Indian Institute of Science where I worked with SP Arun towards understanding the compositional nature of object representation in brains and machines.
Vivian Paulun (vpaulun at mit dot edu)
At a glance, we get a rich and deep understanding of the physical world around us. Not only can we recognize objects, we also get a sense of their internal (material) properties: We can see how an object would feel when touched, squeezed or lifted and, importantly, we can predict its possible futures. How does the human brain represent materials and their properties to achieve this? Fortunately, I have received a fellowship to work with Nancy Kanwisher and Josh Tenenbaum on this question using neuroimaging, machine learning and computational modelling. I got interested in materials during my PhD (with Roland Fleming, Mel Goodale, Karl Gegenfurtner), in which I investigated how material properties shape the way we grasp and interact with objects. Before joining MIT, I did a postdoc in Roland’s lab investigating the visual cues humans use to infer functional material properties (e.g. softness) by sight in the first place.
Thomas O'Connell (tpo at mit dot edu)
I am a postdoctoral researcher working with Nancy Kanwisher and Josh Tenenbaum. My research aims to answer how perceptual processes in the primate brain give rise to behavior and higher-order cognition using tools from neuroscience (fMRI, MEG, non-human primate electrophysiology) and cognitive computational modeling (deep learning, inverse graphics). Prior to MIT, I received my PhD with Marvin Chun at Yale University applying neural reconstruction techniques to study spatial attention in the human brain.
Freddy Kamps (fkamps at mit dot edu)
I am a postdoctoral research fellow working with Nancy Kanwisher and Rebecca Saxe. I’m interested in the functional organization and development of high-level visual systems for recognizing people, places, and things. My current work focuses on the developmental origins of cognitive and neural systems supporting scene recognition and navigation in infancy. Prior to MIT, I completed my PhD at Emory University with Daniel Dilks, where I studied the functional organization and development of human scene and face processing.
Apurva Ratan Murty (ratan at mit dot edu)
I am postdoctoral research fellow with Nancy Kanwisher and Jim Dicarlo. I received my PhD in Neuroscience from the Centre for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - India, where I studied viewpoint invariant object representations in the macaque inferotemporal cortex. Broadly, I am interested in computational mechanisms during early brain development and investigate this using a combination of brain imaging, macaque electrophysiology, behavioural psychophysics and computational modelling.
Meenakshi Khosla (mkhosla at mit dot edu)
We’re at a very special time in human history where on one hand, we are witnessing a data revolution in neuroscience collecting ever-larger neural datasets and on the other, computational models inspired from the brain (‘artificial neural networks’) are offering promising ways to understand neural computations. How can we use modern artificial neural networks to model and understand how the brain processes the natural world? How far can they get us in answering some critical why-questions about phenomena observed in the human brain? I am excited to tackle some of these questions as a postdoc with Nancy Kanwisher. Prior to joining the Kanwisher Lab, I completed my PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University with Mert Sabuncu, where I first delved into the study of the human brain.
Aryan Zoroufi (aryanz at mit dot edu)
I am a graduate student in BCS studying visual search and visually-guided action planning in virtual environments. Specifically, I am curious to study how we use visual information to plan our actions and how the goal of our actions modulates the way we perceive the world. Before joining MIT, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from K.N.TOOSI university in Tehran, Iran, where I worked with Maryam Vaziri-Pashkam from NIH to study how we use visual information to grasp objects.
Sam Hutchinson (samhutch at mit dot edu)
I started as a lab tech with the Kanwisher Lab in May of 2023, and I am beyond excited to work on a wide range of projects with this amazing team of researchers! I recently completed my undergraduate degree from Columbia University with a major in cognitive science and a concentration in computer science. There, I worked on several natural language processing projects including online misinformation detection and comparing computational models of language to human language cognition.
Ammar Marvi (amarvi at mit dot edu)
Working as a lab tech means I get to be involved in various different areas of research at once. I recently graduated from UCLA, where I studied neuroscience with a minor in statistics & data science and Arabic & Islamic studies. I also got to work on projects ranging from systems of learning & memory in mice to applications of novel deep learning methods. Now my interests lie primarily in understanding the unique principles behind artificial and biological intelligence.
Jessica Chomik-Morales (jchomik at mit dot edu)
During the Abnormal Psychology section of a course in high school, our class watched “Silence of the Lambs”, and I thought, “I want to be the person talking to that guy [Hannibal Lector].” Since then I have tasted the many flavors of Neuroscience, from manipulating Alzheimer’s genes in a Drosophila lab, to exploring science communication with a podcast (The Research Diaries), to working in a clinical setting with patients at risk of having Dementia and AD. Now, I am working from the computational side of Neuroscience, using machine learning and brain imaging to study causal relationships in the brain. I hope to use my acquired knowledge to facilitate science communication to the general public and pursue a PhD to better understand the biological basis of deviant social behavior in humans.
Cyn Fang (cxf at mit dot edu)
I am an undergraduate student studying Computation and Cognition (Course 6-9). I am interested in human decision making and perception, and how novel computational methods are informing us about the brain. I hope to pursue a PhD in the future to further study cognition and psychology.
Nancy Kanwisher (ngk at mit dot edu)
Lucky me! I get to work with all the brilliant and wonderful people on this page, and to think about cool questions like these: How are objects, faces, and scenes represented in the brain, and (how) do the representations of each of these classes of stimuli differ from each other? How are visual representations affected by attention, awareness, and experience? Which mental processes get their own special patch of cortex, why is it these processes and (apparenly) not others, and how do special-purpose bits of brain arise in the first place?
If you want to know about my personal story, check out this graduation speech I gave at the University of York 2021, discussing privilege, luck, and compassion in science and life; listen to this interview about my twisted career path, or this one, or read about the quest for the FFA!
Hi, I’m Shiloh. I grew up in Alabama then got shipped up north to my new home with Mom and Dad on Cape Cod. I love running and leaping and snuggling. I can’t wait to have the whole Kanwisher Lab to play with!
Former Lab Members