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Graduate Research Faculty

Graduate Research Faculty

Jose-Manuel Alonso, MD, PhD
Functional Circuitry of the Thalamus and Cortex

Benjamin Backus, PhD
Learning in Visual Perception

Alexandra Benavente-Perez, PhD, McOpt, MS
Visual control of eye growth, Alzheimer’s disease and glaucoma, biometric and physiological factors in human ocular perfusion

Stewart Bloomfield,PhD
Functional Roles of Gap Junctions in Retinal Physiology and Pathology

Kenneth Ciuffreda, OD, PhD
Abnormal Oculomotor Systems/Head Trauma

Mitchell Dul, OD, MS
Perimetry/Visual Fields/Psychophysics/Glaucoma

Philip B. Kruger, OD, PhD
Stimuli for Accommodation/Wavefront Aberration

Robert McPeek, PhD
Neural Mechanisms Underlying Attention and Visually-Guided Actions

Tracy Nguyen, OD, PhD
Corneal Diseases

Jordan Pola, PhD
The Control of Smooth Pursuit Eye Movement

Joan K. Portello, OD, MPH, MS
Computer Vision Syndrome

Mark Rosenfield MC Optom, PhD
Myopia and Retinal Defocus

Harold A. Sedgwick, PhD
Perception of Spatial Layout in Low Vision

Miduturu Srinivas, PhD
Gating and Pharmacology of Lens Gap Junction Channels

David Troilo, PhD
Visual Development, Accommodation, Refractive Error, Myopia

Suresh Viswanathan, OD, PhD
Visual dysfunction in glaucoma and mild traumatic brain injury

Stefanie Wohl, PhD
The Role of microRNAs in Retinal Glia Function

Qasim Zaidi, PhD
Color Perception/Three-Dimensional Shape Perception

Postdoctoral Fellows
Cecilia Chao
Martin Giesel
Anshul Jain
Jianzhong Jin
Sandeep Kumar
Xiaobing Li
Feng Pan
Hari Ramakrishnan
Kadir Toychiev
Ali Yoonessi

Doctoral Students in Vision Science

 

Reynolds Ablordeppey
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. His research advisor is Dr. Alexandra Benavente.

 

Khulan Batsuuri
Khulan Batsuuri
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.
 


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 fourth-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. He is currently working on a behavior and neural model of illuminant and color estimation in complex color scenes.

 

Sohrab Najafian
Sohrab Najafian
Sohrab received his MSc in biomedical engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. He is second year PhD student working under supervision of Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso. He is currently working on a model to explain how afferents coming from both eyes are arranged in primary visual cortex (V1) precisely within small portion of our brain. The visual information coming from our both eyes are segregated based on specific features like orientation, or retinal position (retinotopy). This segregation results in several overlaid visual maps. The focus of his research is to study these maps more accurately than the past through developing some image processing techniques. The final goal of this project is to reach the knowledge required to design a chip that could be replaced with this part of visual system to help those who are suffering from related diseases.

 

Rakesh Nanjappa
Rakesh Nanjappa
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 low-level image features on fixational eye movements. His first project in the PhD program was to explore the role of microsaccades in high acuity visuomotor tasks. He is currently studying the neural correlates of ‘inhibition of return’ by recording from superior colliculus in NHP during free visual search. His research advisor is Dr. Robert McPeek.
Poster Presentations:

  • R Nanjappa, R McPeek. “Microsaccades while aiming are not just limited by gaze relocation demands.” Vision Science Society Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL, May 2017 (abstract published: https://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2651760)
  • R Nanjappa, R Azadi, R McPeek. “Contextual saccade adaptation as a tool to investigate sequential saccades.” Vision Science Society Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL, May 2016

 

Hamed Rahimi Nasrabadi
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. His Research Advisor is Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso.

 

Maria Pons-Torres
Carmen Pons
Carmen Pons 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.
Posters:

  • C. Pons, M Jansen, X Li, Y.Bereshpolova, H. Swadlow, M. Alonso. (2015) Phase selectivity of simple and complex cells in visual cortex. Society for Neuroscience. Dept. of Biological Science, SUNY-Optometry, New York, NY 10036 and Dept. of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269. Abstract 510.01
  • C. Pons, R. Mazade, J. Jin, M. Dul, Q. Zaidi, M. Alonso (2016). Visual dominance for darks increases with low light and optical blur. European Conference on Visual Perception. Dept. of Biological Science, SUNY-Optometry, New York, NY 10036.Abstract 2P065
  • C. Pons, R. Mazade, J. Jin, M. Dul, Q. Zaidi, M. Alonso (2016). Visual dominance for darks increases with low light and optical blur. Society for Neuroscience. Dept. of Biological Science, SUNY-Optometry, New York, NY 10036.Abstract 713
  • CC. Pons, R. Mazade, J. Jin, M. Alonso (2017). Optical blur affects differently ON and OFF visual pathways. Society for Neuroscience. Dept. of Biological Science, SUNY-Optometry, New York, NY 10036.Abstract 402.04
  • Pons C, R. Mazade, J. Jin, M. Dul, Q. Zaidi, M. Alonso (2018). Visual dominance for darks increases in amblyopia. Society for Neuroscience. Dept. of Biological Science, SUNY-Optometry, New York, NY 10036. Abstract 579.04

Talks:

  • Pons C, R. Mazade, J. Jin, M. Dul, Q. Zaidi, M. Alonso (2018). Visual dominance for darks increases in amblyopia. Vision Science Society. Dept. of Biological Science, SUNY-Optometry, New York, NY 10036. Abstract 34.26

Publications:

  • Pons C, Mazade R, Jin J, Dul M, Zaidi Q, Alonso JM. (2017). Neuronal mechanisms underlying differences in spatial resolution between darks and lights in human vision. J Vis. 2017 Dec 1;17(14):5

 

Toan Trinh
Toan Trinh
Toan Trinh received his BA in Economics from Dartmouth College in 2006 and Doctor of Optometry from New England College of Optometry in 2011. He entered the PhD program in the Fall of 2018 and works with Dr. Suresh Viswanathan to utilize electrophysiological techniques to understand the mechanisms underlying visual dysfunction in mild traumatic brain injury.

 

Rong Wang
Rong Wang
Rong Wang graduated with her MD from Tongji Medical School of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China. After graduation, she continued to pursue her Master of Science in Ophthalmology. Rong entered the PhD program at the Graduate Center for Vision Research of State University of New York in the Fall of 2018.Her research interest is focused on retinal neurodegenerative diseases. She is currently doing the lab rotation under the supervision of Dr. Bloomfield to study the roles of neuronal gap junctions in glaucoma.
 

Class of 2019

Rita Neiu
Rita Nieu attended the University of California, Davis and received a Bachelors of Science in Genetics with minors in Psychology and Communications. She worked as a research technician in the lab of John Vogel at the USDA before enrolling in the OD/MS program at SUNY College of Optometry. In collaboration with her mentor, Dr Benavente-Perez, her research is focused on detecting changes in retinal function during myopia progression in a primate model through the use of ERG and VEP.

Tatsiana Palavets
Tatsiana Palavets received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Hunter College, CUNY. She is currently in OD/MS in program at SUNY College of Optometry. Her Masters Thesis Advisor is Dr. Mark Rosenfield, MC OPTOM, PHD. Her Research project focuses on the “Use of Blue-Blocking Filters to Reduce Digital Eye Strain.” Digital Eye Strain (DES) refers to the visual and ocular symptoms commonly experienced when viewing digital screens. The study examined the effect of a blue-blocking filter on these symptoms while reading continuously from a tablet computer for 30 minutes. In addition, ocular accommodation, pupil size, and the size of the vertical palpebral aperture were also monitored during the task. Preliminary results suggest that the blue-blocking filters do not reduce symptoms of DES.

Brenda Tan
Brenda Tan graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Brown University. Her M.S. Research Advisors are Dr. Stewart Bloomfield and Dr. David Troilo. Her research project focuses on the “Attenuation of Myopic Progression Seen in a Connexin 36 Knockout Mouse Model of Myopia.” The aim of this project is threefold—first to establish a mouse model of myopia, second to examine the environmental effect of dim lighting on myopic progression and third to understand its genetic component by using a knock out model of Connexin 36. In order to perfect the mouse model and provide insight into the widespread variation in measurements amongst labs, I looked at three methods of refraction—1) on the awake and lightly restrained mouse, 2) on an awake and cyclopleged mouse and 3) on a cyclopleged and anesthetized mouse. Refraction was measured using an infrared power refractor modified by Dr. Frank Schaeffel and axial length measured using an OCT.

Nolan Wilson
Nolan Wilson graduated from Yale College in 2015 with a B.S. (Int.) in Chemistry. His research was towards the syntheses of two amino-sugar moieties of a cancer metabolite. Now, his research under Dr. Qasim Zaidi uses object segmentation to understand the evolutionary significance of human L- and M-cones. He has enjoyed going from the chemistry of color to the perception of color.

Class of 2020

Abdula Alamri
Abdula Alamri attended Indiana University and received a B.S. in Neuroscience. He is currently a student in the OD/MS program. In collaboration with his research mentor, Dr. Viswanathan, his current research focuses on the intensity function of the photopic negative response and visually evoked potential in mild traumatic brain injury.
 
Carol Lin
Carol Lin attended the University of California, Los Angeles and received a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience with a minor in French Language & Linguistics. She did research in the areas of comparative psychology and clinical neuropsychiatry as an undergraduate at UCLA before enrolling in the OD/MS program at the SUNY College of Optometry. In collaboration with her mentor, Dr. Benavente-Perez, her research focuses on quantification and distribution of co-localized astrocytes and capillaries in the myopic primate inner retina. The goal of this study is to identify anatomical changes to the retina in myopia development.
 
Max Zimbel
Max Zimbel is currently a student in the OD/MS program. He received his B.A in Psychology with a minor in Biology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. His advisor is Dr. Suresh Viswanathan. Max’s project focuses on the response changes to the photopic negative response (PhNR) in subjects diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy. His research advisor is Dr. Suresh Viswanathan.

Class of 2021

Keying Yan
Keying Yan graduated from University of Colorado Boulder with a major in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology. Her past research experience was in microRNA and skin epithelium. Currently enrolled in OD/MS program, she is working with her research mentor Dr. Mark Rosenfield on Digital Eye Strain and Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency.
 

Residency/MS Students

Franklin Bui
Franklin Bui is a current resident in the Combined Optometry Residency & Graduate Degree in Vision Science. His current research examines the effect of low-dose atropine on the biometry of the choroid and other ocular structures in healthy adults. He completed his O.D. degree at the University of California at Berkeley. His research advisor is Dr. Alexandra Benavente.
 
Harrison Feng
Harrison Feng is a current resident in the Combined Optometry Residency & Graduate Degree in Vision Science. His current work examines the effects of multi-focal soft contact lenses and their impact on myopia development and accommodative behavior in young myopic eyes. He attended the State University of New York College of Optometry and received a Doctor of Optometry. Previous works in myopia research were done in collaboration with Dr. Alexandra Benavente and his current advisor.
Dr. Xiaoying Zhu.

Masters Students

Akihito Maruya
Akihito Maruya received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a minor in Applied Physics from National Defense Academy of Japan. He recently started my Master of Science in Vision Science with
Dr. Qasim Zaidi as his research mentor. His research interests are 3D-perception and color perception.