The laboratory’s long-term goal is to understand how the brain manages to make sense of its complex visual environment. How are the photons that hit the retina translated into meaningful information about where things are, where they are going and what they look like?
An understanding of how this complex process may work, can only come from a combination of techniques: human psychophysics provides information at an abstract level; it tells us something about what humans do and sometimes it can provide constraints on how they do it. Functional magnetic resonance imaging can tell us something about the particular areas of the brain that are involved. To study the mechanisms, however, one also needs to have a detailed look at the neurons that do all this hard work. This is possible with electrophysiological methods in animals. The connection from the mechanistic single-cell knowledge to the high-level perceptual understanding can be made in monkeys that are performing psychophysical tasks while we record from relevant cells in their brains.
Eventually, we not only want to understand the brain, but also improve it, or fix it when it malfunctions. For this reason, we are interested in methods of neuromodulation, in particular noninvasive methods such as transcranial current stimulation.
Born in the Netherlands, Bart Krekelberg earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of London (King’s College) in 1997. He holds master’s degrees in theoretical astrophysics and cognitive artificial intelligence from Utrecht University. Prior to joining the Rutgers University faculty, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Ruhr University, in Bochum, Germany, and as a research associate at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. He joined Rutgers University in Newark in 2006 to establish his laboratory at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience. In 2007, he was named one of 20 U.S. Pew Scholars in recognition of the importance of his work in vision and eye movements. He is currently the associate director of the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience and the Rutgers University Brain Imaging Center.