Current PhD Students
Reynolds Kwame Ablordeppey
Reynolds Kwame Ablordeppey completed his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana in 2016. His research interests are focused on myopia development and progression as well as related structural and functional changes.
Romain Bachy graduated with an MSc in Photography with specialization in image technology from Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis-Lumière, Paris, France. For 3 years, he taught and provided expertise in alternative processes and digital colorimetric workflow. He then graduated with an MSc in Computer Science with imaging specialization from Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France. He has been a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center for Vision Research of the State University of New York since 2012. His present research concentrates on color process from retina to inferior-temporal cortex.
Advisor: Dr. Qasim Zaidi
Khulan Batsuuri has graduated and received her MD from the School of Medicine, Mongolian National University of Health Sciences and continued her study in MS in Neuroscience program in the University of Hartford. Before enrolling in PhD in Vision Science program at the SUNY College of Optometry, she has worked on an epigenetic project to study the effects of transcription factors, Ezh2 and G9a, on retinal ganglion cells at Schepen`s Eye Research Institute, Boston. Her research interest is retinal neurodegeneration, including Glaucoma and optic nerve regeneration. She is looking forward to working with Dr.Bloomfield and Dr.Viswanathan to study the possibility of early detection and potential treatment of the Glaucoma.
Lanya Cai is graduate student starting the 4th year of her PhD program. She came to the program with an inter-discipline educational background including biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and psychology. During her PhD training, she studied binocular combination, global motion perception, and amblyopia with Dr. Benjamin Backus. Her current research focuses on (1) to identify the parameter space in which binocular global motion perception is measurable, (2) to develop a new model of binocular global motion process that can quantitatively describe human perceptual behaviors during our experimental measurements. She has presented her work on VSS by a talk in 2013 and two posters in 2014 and 2015.
Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Backus
Zhehao Huang Zhehao Huang received his Bachelor of Science from the School of Psychological and Cognitive Science, Peking University. He entered the PhD program in 2015, and now is a second year student in Dr. Qasim Zaidi’s lab. During the first year, he focused on a sequential attraction in human color perception, and has presented in VSS 2016.
Dr. Qasim Zaidi
Erin Koch received her BS and MA in Mathematics from American University. She was an adjunct faculty member for one semester and a term faculty member for a year in American University’s Mathematics and Statistics Department. Erin entered the PhD program at the Graduate Center for Vision Research of State University of New York in the Fall of 2013. She is currently studying how different regions of cortical topography shape response properties via physiology and neural modeling. She is also interested in extracting 3-D shape from motion and texture cues.
Advisor: Dr. Qasim Zaidi
- E. Koch, J. Jin, J.M. Alonso, and Q. Zaidi. “Functional implications of orientation maps in primary visual cortex.” Nature Communications 7 (2016).
- Q. Zaidi and E. Koch. “Shape deformations are ubiquitous in images: how do we tell that objects are deforming?”, European Conference on Visual Perception, Berlin, Germany, August 2017.
- E. Koch, J. Jin, J.M. Alonso, and Q. Zaidi. “Functional implications of orientation maps in visual cortex”, Vision Science Society Annual Meeting, St. Pete’s Beach, Fl, May 2016. (abstract published: http://www.visionsciences.org/programs/VSS_2016_Abstracts.pdf)
- E. Koch, J. Jin, J.M. Alonso, and Q. Zaidi. “Modeling Response Properties Across the Orientation Map in Visual Cortex”, ModVis Annual Meeting, St. Pete’s Beach, FL, May 2016. (abstract published: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/modvis/2016/session06/)
- E. Koch, J. Jin, J.M. Alonso, and Q. Zaidi. “Facilitation of pattern and contour selectivity by excitatory intra-cortical circuits”, COSYNE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2017. (abstract published: http://cosyne.org/cosyne17/Cosyne2017_program_book.pdf)
- E. Koch, J. Jin, M. Jansen, C. Pons, J.M. Alonso, and Q. Zaidi. “Cortical topography of cross-orientation interactions in visual cortex”, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Chicago, Ill, October 18, 2015. (abstract published: https://www.sfn.org/annual-meeting/neuroscience-2015/sessions-and-events/program/abstract-pdfs-2015)
- E. Koch, J. Jin, Y. Wang, J. Kremkow, J.M. Alonso, and Q. Zaidi. “Cross-orientation suppression and the topography of orientation preferences”, Vision Science Society Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL, May 2015. (abstract published: http://www.visionsciences.org/programs/VSS_2015_Abstracts.pdf)
Sohrab Najafian received his MSc in biomedical engineering in Iran University of Science and Technology. His research interest can be broadly categorized as philosophy of consciousness. He is currently doing his first rotation under the supervision of Dr. Alonso to understand how brain processes visual information by using some computational methods.
Rakesh Nanjappa graduated in 2014 from University of Hyderabad (India) with Integrated Masters in Optometry and Vision Science, after which he did one year of course work in M.Phil Cognitive Science from the same university. His broad research interest is to investigate the relationship between eye movements and attention. His masters thesis explored the effect of image features on fixational eye movements. Now he is studying patterns of eye movements made by human participants while they aim and shoot in a computer simulated shooting task. This will reflect the role of eye movements and attention in a high acuity visuomotor task. He has recently presented a poster titled ‘Contextual Saccadic Adaptation as a tool to investigate sequential saccades’ in VSS 2016, St.Pete’s Beach, Florida.
Advisor: Dr. Robert McPeek
Hamed Rahimi Nasrabadi
Hamed Rahimi Nasrabadi received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with minor in Physics from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran and was a research assistant at the Brain Engineering Research Center, IPM. He recently started his PhD at the Graduate Center for Vision Science of the State University of New York (Fall of 2017). His main interests are to: (1) study the functional organization of visual pathways, (2) develop computational models of neural mechanisms underlying vision and (3) develop neural prosthesis to restore visual impairment.
Advisor: Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso
Maria Pons-Torres completed her degree at the Medical School of the University Miguel Hernández (Alicante, Spain). Her ultimate goal is to complete my Doctorate in Vision Science at SUNY Optometry with her advisor, Dr. Jose Manuel Alonso in order to improve her own competence in such an interesting field. She would like to focus her research career towards achieving two objectives. Firstly, opening new horizons and helping to increment our knowledge in this field and secondly, pioneer new ways that will contribute to the development of medical curative processes. She proposes to meet these two goals by developing a working model where laboratory research is closely related to clinical work. Her aim is to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical practice. For example, use the experience acquired in clinical work to improve experimental design in basic research.
Advisor: Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso
Nefeli Slavi studied Biology in the University of Athens, Greece and completed her Master’s in Medical Neuroscience in Charité, Germany. She came to New York in 2012 to work as a research technician in the lab of Dr. Srinivas at SUNY College of Optometry, where she now conducts her Ph.D. thesis. Nefeli is interested in the pathophysiology of diseases of the retina and the lens. Currently, she studies the role of gap junction channels in the process of abnormal retinal angiogenesis using genetics, molecular and cell biology techniques and electrophysiology.
Advisor: Dr. Miduturu Srinivas
- Identification and functional assessment of age-dependent truncations to Cx46 and Cx50 in the human lens. Slavi et al., Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 2016.
- Connexin 46 (Cx46) gap junctions provide a pathway for the delivery of glutathione to the lens nucleus. Slavi et al., Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2014
Kevin Willeford attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and received a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience with minors in Chemistry and English. Next, he earned a Doctorate in Optometry and a Masters in Vision Science at the SUNY State College of Optometry in New York City. He chose to continue his studies through enrollment in the Ph.D. program. His research interests involve exploration of visual processes and psychological states with electrophysiological methods. Kevin is currently working with Dr. McPeek, and aims to elicit the role(s) of the superior colliculus and frontal eye fields in programming of attentional processes and saccadic eye movements.
Advisor: Dr. Robert McPeek
- Willeford, Kevin T., Vanessa Fimreite, and Kenneth J. Ciuffreda. “The Effect of Spectral Filters on VEP and Alpha-Wave
Responses.” Journal of Optometry (2015).
- Willeford, Kevin T., Kenneth J. Ciuffreda, and George Zikos. “Objective assessment of eye-dominance using the VEP.” Eye
and Contact Lens (2015) in press.
- Kunzevitzky, Noelia J., Kevin T. Willeford, William J. Feurer, Monica V. Almeida, and Jeffrey L. Goldberg. “Amacrine Cell
Subtypes Differ in Their Intrinsic Neurite Growth Capacity.”~Investigative ophthalmology & visual science~54.12 (2013):
- Willeford, Kevin T., Kenneth J. Ciuffreda, and Naveen K. Yadav. “Effect of test duration on the visual-evoked potential
(VEP) and alpha-wave responses.” Documenta Ophthalmologica 126.2 (2013): 105-115.
- Willeford, Kevin T., Kenneth J. Ciuffreda, Naveen K. Yadav, and Diana P. Ludlam. “Objective assessment of the human visual
attentional state.” Documenta Ophthalmologica 126.1 (2013): 29-44.
- Willeford, Kevin T., and Jerry Rapp. “Smoking and age-related macular degeneration: biochemical mechanisms and patient
support.” Optometry & Vision Science 89.11 (2012): 1662-1666.