Neuroimaging and Visual Science Laboratory

The Neuroimaging and Visual Science Laboratory is part of the Departments of Ophthalmology and Radiology at NYU Langone Health. Directed by Kevin C. Chan, PhD, our laboratory focuses on developing and applying new methods for non-invasively imaging neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment, neuroplasticity and neuroregeneration in vision-related diseases and injuries to guide vision preservation and restoration.

Graphic representing technical study of ophthalmology.

Major Research Directions

  1. Structural, metabolic, physiological and functional relationships between eye, brain and behavior in health and disease
     
  2. MR ocular imaging and neuroimaging of degeneration, development, plasticity, protection and regeneration

Ongoing Research Projects

  1. Glaucoma Neuroimaging and Neurotherapeutics in Humans and Experimental Animal Models
    Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Although elevated eye pressure is a major risk factor, recent evidence suggests the involvement of the brain’s visual system, apart from the eye, in the early degenerative mechanisms of the disease. However, the pathogenesis of glaucoma in the visual system remains largely undetermined. Our lab's research goal is to develop novel structural and physiological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for whole-brain and non-invasive measurements of early changes and disease progression along the visual pathway in glaucoma patients. Our recent research has demonstrated structural, metabolic and functional relationships between eye, brain and vision loss in patients with early and advanced stage disease when brain MRI findings were compared with clinical ophthalmic assessments. We also combine neuroimaging and neurotherapeutic approaches to guide vision preservation and restoration in humans and experimental animal models. The development of novel methods for characterizing and monitoring chronic glaucoma in the visual system can potentially lead to more timely intervention and more targeted treatments to reduce the prevalence of this irreversible but preventable neurodegenerative disease.
     
  2. The Neural Basis of Sensory Substitution in the Blind
    Visual impairment is a major health problem worldwide. When vision loss becomes irreversible, some solutions seek to assist patients to 'see' with their remaining sensory modalities by converting live visual information into patterns of sound or touch. This process is termed 'sensory substitution'. To date, little is known about how these new technological senses interact with the brain to influence perception and behavior in the blind. Our lab aims to investigate sensory substitution technologies and improve visual neurorehabilitation strategies, by identifying the structural and functional brain networks involved in sensory substitution, and by examining the plastic brain changes resulting from multisensory training through the combined use of advanced neuroimaging and neuromodulation techniques.
    Seeing with Sound | Pranav Lal | TEDxBITSGoa (4:11)
     
  3. Ocular Structures and Physiology
    Aqueous humor dynamics; Retinal pathophysiology; Microstructures and macromolecules in sclera and cornea; Ocular biomechanics; Controlled ocular drug delivery; Ocular reconstruction such as whole-eye transplantation
     
  4. MR Engineering and Methods Development for Examining the Visual System
    ​Contrast-enhanced MRI (manganese, gadolinium, iron oxide nanoparticles, chromium, etc), diffusion MRI, functional MRI, MR spectroscopy, susceptibility-weighted MRI, magic angle-enhanced MRI 

Major Financial Support

  1. National Institutes of Health (R01 EY028125) 
  2. BrightFocus Foundation National Glaucoma Research Program (G2013077, G2016030, G2019103) 
  3. Alcon Research Institute Young Investigator Grant
  4. Research to Prevent Blindness/Stavros Niarchos Foundation International Research Collaborators Award

Postdoctoral Opportunity

We are actively seeking candidates for a Postdoctoral Fellow position to perform MRI research of the visual system for guiding vision preservation and restoration. Learn More >>

Lab Members

Members of lab, group portrait.

Postdoctoral Fellows
2019 – Present Anoop Sainulabdeen, MVSc, PhD
2018 – Present Muneeb A. Faiq, PhD (2019 ARVO MIT Poster Award Finalist; 2019 Alliance for Eye and Vision Research Emerging Vision Scientist)
2018 – Present Giles Hamilton-Fletcher, PhD (2018 Alliance for Eye and Vision Research Emerging Vision Scientist)
2017 – Present Ji Won Bang, PhD (2019 ARVO Foundation/National Eye Institute Travel Grant)
2017 – Present Carlos Parra, PhD
2018 – 2019 Helen Xinlei Wang, MD, PhD (Last known position: Medical entrepreneur in China)
2014 – 2016 Xiaoling Yang, MD (Award: 2015 ARVO Hot Topics recognition for top 6% abstracts)
2013 – 2016 Matthew C. Murphy, PhD (Last known position: Assistant Professor of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 2016-present) (Awards: 2014-16 NIH T32EY017271-06 grantee; 2014 ISMRM educational stipend award; 2014 ISMRM Magna Cum Laude Award for top 15% abstract)
2011 – 2012 Ian P. Conner, MD, PhD (Last known position: Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, 2012-present)
 

 

Graduate Students
2019 – Present Jessie J Zhu, MS (Visiting graduate student at Capital Medical University, Beijing, China) (Award: 2019 Chinese Government Scholarship for Joint Doctoral Training Program at NYULH Ophthalmology)
2019 – present Yash Deshpande, BS
2019 – present Philip Ekfeldt, BS (Award: NYU Center for Data Science/Moore-Sloan Summer Research Internship)
2018 – Present Monica Mendoza, MS
2014 – 2018 Yolandi van der Merwe, PhD (Last known position: Senior Consultant - Navigant, USA); (Awards: 2016 ARVO Hot Topics recognition for top 2% abstracts; 2015-17 ISMRM educational stipend award; 2015&2017 ISMRM Summa Cum Laude Award for top 5% abstract; 2015&2016 ISMRM Magna Cum Laude Award for top 15% abstract)
2014 – 2017 Caitlin O’ Connell, PhD (Last known position: Postdoctoral fellow at East Carolina University, USA); (Co-advisor/PhD thesis committee member)
2013 – 2015 Leon C. Ho, PhD (Last known position: Resident Physicist, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, Hong Kong); (Awards: 2014 & 2015 ISMRM educational stipend awards; 2014 ISMRM Magna Cum Laude Awards (x2) for top 15% abstracts)

 

Residents and Medical Students
2019 – Present Megan Rowlands, MD
2018 – Present Vishnu Adi, MPH (Visiting student at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY)
2018 – Present Malack Hamade, BS (Visiting Student at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY) 
2017 – Present Max K. Colbert, BS (Award: 2019 ARVO Foundation/BrightFocus Foundation Travel Grant; 2018 Liesegang fellowship for clinical ophthalmology research; )
2017 – Present Jeffrey Sims, BA (Award: 2017 Liesegang fellowship for clinical ophthalmology research)
2017 – Present Ahmel Arshad, BSc (Visiting student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Middletown, NY)
2011 – 2016 Swarupa Kancherla, MD (Award: 2015 ISMRM educational stipend award)
2015 – 2016 Stanley Liu, BSc
2016 Jasmine Kashkoush, BSc (Visiting medical student at University of South Florida, FL)
2012 – 2016 Cindy Y. Teng, BA [Awards: NIH T32MH019986 training grantee; 2015 ARVO National Eye Institute award; 2015 ARVO Hot Topics recognition for top 6% abstracts; 2013 Stephen Phillips Award for Basic Science at Dean's Summer Research Program (2/100+ applicants)]
2012 – 2016 Jesse Lawrence, BSc [Awards: 2014 ARVO Foundation Murray and Jeanie Johnstone Award for best glaucoma research; 2013 Dean’s Research Fellowship; Merit Award at Dean's Summer Research Program (11/100+ applicants)]

 

Undergraduate and Postbaccalaureate Students
2019 – Present Hana Song (Award: 2019 Carnegie Mellon University Summer Internship Experience Fund)
2018 – Present Jeannie Au
2018 – Present Crystal Liu (Award: 2019 Carnegie Mellon University Summer Internship Experience Fund)
2018 – Present Arjun C. Kotwal
2017 – Present Vivek Trivedi (2019 ISMRM Magna Cum Laude Award for top 15% abstracts; Award: 2018 ARVO Foundation/Knights Templar Eye Foundation Travel Grant)
2017 – Present Wenyu Deng, BA (Last known position: Medical student, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, 2018 – present)
2017 Antoinette Charles (2017 ABRCMS Student Travel Award; Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, NYU School of Medicine)
2017 Yue Chen (Visiting student at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
2016 William Kohler (Student researcher at Saint Vincent College, PA)
2016 John Gnalian (BioSc 1903 Undergraduate Research on Biological Sciences)
2016 Michael Krawchuk (NroSci 1901 Independent Study on Neuroscience Research; ARTSC 0120 First Experiences in Research project)
2016 Katrina Tragakis (ArtSc 0120 First Experiences in Research project)
2014 – 2015 Jennifer Liu (BioSc 1903 Undergraduate Research on Biological Sciences)
2013 – 2014 Tyler Pirkle (BioEng 1002 Intramural Bioengineering Internship) (Award: 2013 Pitt BioE/Provost summer internship)
2012 – 2014 Zaid Safiullah, (Honors Thesis, and BioENG 1095 Special Bioengineering Research Projects) (Last known position: Medical student, University of Pittsburgh, 2015-present) [Awards: 2014 ARVO Foundation/National Eye Institute Travel Grant; 2013 Brackenridge Fellowship (60/200+ applicants)]

 

High School Students
2019 – Present Elizabeth Vesialou (Staten Island Technical High School, Staten Island, NY)
2019 – Present Devon J. Bonair (Last known position: Undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University)
2018 – Present Andrew Lee (Last known position: Undergraduate at Williams College)
2018 – Present Patrick Paszkowski (Last known position: Undergraduate at Yale University)
2018 – Present Anisha Kasi (Last known position: Undergraduate at Brown University)
2017 Anthony Degoian (Franklin Center STEM Research program at World Journalism Preparatory School, Queens, NY; in affiliation with State University of New York at Albany’s University in the High School Science Research program)
2014 – 2015 Grace Jin (North Allegheny Senior High School, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
(Last known position: Undergraduate at Yale University)

 

BMSC-GA 4482 Introduction to Research (Research Adventure), Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, NYU School of Medicine, NYU Langone Health, New York University
2019 Nora Herzog, Zhe Sun, Qiao Zhang
2018 Jonathan Feelemyer, Sheena Faye Garcia, Paige Leary, Patrick O’Neill, Nicholas Pantaleo, Amicha Robertson
Summer Trainees, Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University (NIH R90DA023420 and T90DA022761)
2013 Andreas Hahn, PhD (Medical University of Vienna), Karen Nunley, BSc (University of Pittsburgh), Sephira Ryman, BSc (University of New Mexico), Indira Turney, BSc (Pennsylvania State University)
2012 Kaitlyn Litkofsky, BSc (Penn State University), Toshiki Tazoe, PhD (University of Pittsburgh)
Group portrait of research assistants.