Neural Dynamics of Visual Cognition Group
Room JK 25/222b
I joined the group in January 2020 for a two-months lab rotation and then I decided to continue here my PhD journey. During my studies, I completed the Bachelor in Biology at the University of Havana in 2015 and then started working for two years at the Cuban Center for Neurosciences. After this, I joined the Neurasmus master program in 2017 and completed after two years a double degree in Neuroscience at the Universities of Göttingen and Bordeaux. Currently I’m a PhD student funded by the Einstein Center for Neurosciences (until October 2022). I am also part of the graduate school of the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience.
For a more detailed information, please see my CV.
General research interests
I am very interested on the neural basis of conscious perception or what other researchers call “Qualia”. Based on theories of recurrent processing, I investigate the mechanism of veridical perception and intrinsically driven perceptual experiences such as mental imagery and visual illusions. My PhD topic focused on the feedforward and feedback processing in the human visual cortex using lamina-resolved MRI and multivariate classification methods.
Our mental representations during veridical perception results from the integration of bottom-up/feedforward and top-down/feedback information. But how do these representations occur in the absence of visual inputs such as in mental imagery?
In my first project, I investigate the role of feedforward and feedback signaling in high-level category-selective regions during imagery and perception of familiar faces and places. For this, I relied on the layer-specificity of feedforward and feedback connections found in the primate early visual cortex: feedforward projections terminate in middle layers and feedback projections arrive in superficial and deep layers. Here, I use lamina-resolved fMRI with GE-BOLD sequence to record the activity of the typical human brain.
During my second project, in addition to including high-level category-selective regions, I extend the research to early visual cortex and apply Vascular space occupancy (VASO). VASO is a scanning sequence based on the cerebral blood volume and it has been demonstrated to be more layer specific. Thus, overcoming the main limitation of GE-BOLD sequence in layer-fMRI studies.
For my third project, I would like to investigate the feedforward and feedback information flow in the human motion complex and early visual cortex during real and intrinsically-driven motion perception such as apparent and imagined motion. Similar as my second project, I will apply VASO and lamina-resolved fMRI together with univariate and multivariate techniques.
Student supervision & opportunities
If you are interested in a small internship or completing your bachelor/master thesis with us, I would be happy to discuss potential research projects. Please feel free to contact me. A plus would be if you already know programming in, for example, Python or MATLAB.