What Do Neuroscientists Imagine That an “Understanding” of the Brain Will Look Like?
James "Jim" DiCarlo is the Peter De Florez Professor of Neuroscience, head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and McGovern Institute for Brain Research Investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1998, and did his postdoctoral training in primate visual neurophysiology at Baylor College of Medicine. He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty in 2002. The research goal of Dr. DiCarlo’s group is a computational understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie object recognition. His group is currently focused on understanding how transformations carried out by a series of neocortical processing stages—called the primate ventral visual stream—are effortlessly able to untangle object identity from other latent image variables such as object position, scale and pose. His group is currently using a combination of large-scale neurophysiology, brain imaging, optogenetic methods, and high-throughput computational simulations to understand the neuronal mechanisms and fundamental cortical computations that underlie the construction of these powerful image representations. They aim to use this understanding to inspire and develop new machine vision systems, to provide a basis for new neural prosthetics (brain-machine interfaces) in order to restore or augment lost senses, and to provide a foundation upon which the community can understand how high-level visual representation is altered in human conditions such as agnosia, autism and dyslexia. Dr. DiCarlo is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, and a McKnight Scholar in Neuroscience.