Rutgers professor Bart Krekelberg is named 1 of 20 US Pew Scholars for 2007

NEWARK, N.J. In life, its not always what we perceive but often also what we ignore that allows us to function with ease. Take for example, the process of seeing. As we look and see the world around us, the brain is able to ignore some critical information, most specifically the movement of our own eyes. If the brain failed to suppress that movement, then seeing would be like looking through a video camera held by an unsteady hand jerking from spot to spot every few seconds. It also would lead to a barrage of information that would prevent us from seeing anything at all.

Recently named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Bart Krekelberg, assistant professor in the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience (CMBN) at Rutgers University in Newark, seeks to provide a map of the neural activity involved in visual processing during eye movements. Such knowledge could provide a better understanding of the visual perception dysfunctions involved in dyslexia, and the hallucinations experienced by those who suffer from schizophrenia.

As one of 20 U.S. Pew Scholars selected for the 2007 awards, Krekelberg has received a $250,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to fund his work in vision and eye movements. The highly selective program supports researchers in studying unexplored areas so they can generate the knowledge that may lead to new medical treatments and save lives. Krekelberg is the only researcher in New Jersey named a 2007 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Working at the neural systems and network levels, Krekelberg and his research team plan to pinpoint those areas of the brain involved in visual perception and eye movements and how they work in unison. Traditionally, such research has focused on the function of specific cells in individual areas of the brain, but not on the connections between cellular function and global neural networks, says Krekelberg. The failure to integrate the two, he says, reminds one of the

Contact: Helen Paxton
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

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