Richard J. Krauzlis, Ph.D.
Eye Movements & Visual Selection Section
Research in the Krauzlis laboratory investigates how the brain controls voluntary eye movements, and how eye movements are linked to other brain processes such as visual selection, visual perception, and decision-making. One key result from his lab’s work is that the superior colliculus, a structure on the roof of the midbrain best known for its role in the motor control of orienting movements, contains a “priority map” that keeps track of behaviorally relevant objects in the visual field. Activity in this map is important for deciding where and when to look – prioritizing how we should physically orient to objects in our environment. But the lab has also found that activity in this map plays a crucial role in selecting which signals are taken into account when making perceptual judgments, even in the absence of orienting movements. These findings reveal that advanced functions of the primate brain typically associated with the neocortex, such as visual selection and sensory-motor coordination, appear to be built on top of evolutionarily older brain systems rather than developed de novo. Determining how these cortical and subcortical brain systems interact is therefore crucial for understanding how the visual and oculomotor systems operate together under normal conditions and identifying how breakdowns in these mechanisms cause disorders of sensory-motor coordination.
Rich Krauzlis earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco, in Steve Lisberger's laboratory. After postdoctoral training with Fred Miles and Bob Wurtz at the National Eye Institute, he was recruited to the Salk Institute in 1997, where he was promoted to Full Professor in the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory. In 2011, Rich returned to the National Eye Institute as a Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research and Chief of the section on Eye Movements and Visual Selection. Rich's vita includes papers on pursuit and saccadic eye movements, physiological studies of the superior colliculus, cerebellum, and cerebral cortex, psychophysical studies of visual motion perception and visual attention, and computational modeling of eye movements. He has authored several review articles on eye movements, including a chapter in the graduate textbook Fundamental Neuroscience. He also serves on the editorial boards for Journal of Neuroscience and Journal of Vision and is a Senior Editor for Vision Research.