Exploring Vision, Perception and Behavior: W. Martin Usrey Named Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Endowed Chair in Physiology

The UC Davis College of Biological Sciences named Professor W. Martin Usrey to the Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Endowed Chair in Physiology. David Slipher/UC Davis
The UC Davis College of Biological Sciences named Professor W. Martin Usrey to the Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Endowed Chair in Physiology. David Slipher/UC Davis

Amblyopia, or reduced vision from one eye, affects approximately two to three of every 100 children, according to the National Eye Institute. Today the disability is correctable, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists realized the eye wasn’t responsible for the condition. Its origin was in how the eye and brain worked together. 

“Back in the day, no one realized that there was a ‘critical period’ in childhood, where this could be corrected,” said Professor W. Martin Usrey, chair of the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. “Through basic science, that was discovered.”   

In 1981, David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for their discoveries concerning the visual system. They and others revealed that visual information travels through a complex network of brain cells, where its component pieces are broken apart and sent to different areas of the brain for processing, eventually forming an image.

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