Steven Shepard

Reveal Contact Info

PhD Student

Vision Science

Olshausen Lab

Current Research

My current research seeks to find beauty in the neural computations that orchestrate perception and behavior. Aside from its aesthetic meaning, beauty would be embodied by simple principles that govern and generate signal and behavior dynamics observed in neuroscience. Similar to how geometric optics serve as fundamental principles that model how the eye optimally evolved to transform light from the natural world to form an image on the retina, my research investigates how geometric algebraic computations and unsupervised learning methods may guide how sensory information is efficiently coded and transformed into perception amenable for subsequent behavior in higher levels of the brain.

Background

My journey to the Redwood Center has been fueled by a genuine curiosity to understand what Alduous Huxley called the “Doors of Perception”. I studied neuroscience and electrical engineering at Stanford University to reverse engineer these “Doors”. My early research revolved around neuro-imaging/modulation techniques such as fMRI, TMS and EEG, even spending time at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology in Germany designing noninvasive electrodes for neurosurgeons.

At Stanford, I would also contribute to research elucidating the neural circuity underlying visual attention by mapping dopaminergic pathways between prefrontal cortical attention hubs and high level visual areas in Tirin Moore’s lab.

My research today has transcended to another level of abstraction from neural circuits to neural networks, though I hope to bridge a connection between the two. A dream would be to help improve therapies related to brain dysfunction by understanding models of neuro-typical function. Other tangential research topics that pique my interests include photonic computing and epigenetics

In my leisure I enjoy playing music, painting, yoga, surfing, capoiera, and taking trips in nature.