Five years of renewed support are requested for three Core modules in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: an Instrument Core, an Electronics Core, and an MR Imaging Core. We presently have twelve NEI-supported investigators who carry out research on vision, the visual system and the oculomotor system, with a total of 21 grants and two fellowships from NEI. Their research includes: (1) neurophysiological studies of the visual and oculomotor systems, (2) anatomical studies of the visual and oculomotor systems, (3) developmental studies of the vision and visuomotor function, (4) psychophysical studies of visual functions in non-human primates, (5) psychophysical studies of visual functions in normal human and patient populations, (6) computational analyses of vision and eye movement, and (7) imaging studies to elucidate the roles of various brain sub-regions in visual processing. Ours is a highly-productive, rapidly growing department with a longstanding focus on vision and eye-related research. The three Core Modules supported exclusively by this grant are the indispensable shared infrastructure of that productivity. Each Core has enabled the construction of novel devices and research methods that are not available off-the-shelf, facilitating interactions among the Core faculty as well as NEI investigators at other institutions. In addition, the Cores allow for rapid repair of equipment (often preventing significant down-time) and for training of students and postdoctoral fellows in design and fabrication constraints. We have a track-record of administering these Cores in ways that maximize their value, updating their resources and the training of their personnel as research demands have changed. NEI's continued support is essential to the operation and evolution of these Cores, which in turn are essential to our research. The collective value of the wide range of studies that depend upon these Cores represent an excellent return on NEI's investment.
The studies that depend on these Cores contribute to a fundamental understanding of visual and oculomotor systems, and of the structures and processes in the brain that give rise to visual perception. This basic science has the potential to underlie a wide range of significant advances in treatment of diseases involving visual perception, as well as technology to improve or assist normal or abnormal visual development.
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