MacArthur Neuroscience Fellow Doris Tsao speaks at DIBS

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Doris Tsao, PhD, Professor of Biology at Cal Tech and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, spoke to a packed crowd at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS) on Wednesday, March 20.

Tsao won a MacArthur "Genius" fellowship in 2018 .

In her lecture, "How the Brain Represents Objects,"  Tsao described objects as constituting the fundamental currency of the brain, as things we perceive, remember and think about. For primates, Tsao said, a face is one one of the most important objects. She then went on to discuss her research on the macaque face patch system and the detailed processes underlying object recognition. She spoke about recent findings from her lab elucidating the code for face and object identity in the temporal lobe, and how this code is used by downstream areas. Finally, she discussed the general problem of how the brain builds a model of the world, and how we are leveraging our access to a hierarchical network for encoding object identity to gain new insight into this problem.

Tsao is recognized for pioneering the use of fMRI with single-unit electrophysiological recordings and for discovering the macaque face patch system for face perception. She was named in MIT Technology Review's TR35 list in 2007. She described a neural code that a primate's IT cortex uses to process faces  She is serving on the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0) established in 2018.