The Albert D. Lasker Professor
Department of Neurobiology and the College
John Maunsell studies how the brain processes visual signals from the eyes, with special emphasis on how such processing varies with the context of the task being performed. His research has examined moment-to-moment changes in the activity of single neurons that depend on whether a subject pays attention to or ignores particular objects. This work has shown that the brain has a rapid internal mechanism for selectively enhancing the signals of sensory neurons that represent behaviorally significant objects in the visual scene. This mechanism can account for most of the effects that attention has in enhancing perceptions and behavioral responses.
Maunsell, who was most recently affiliated with Harvard Medical School, will serve as the inaugural director of the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior. Since 2007, he has served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience. His honors include election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as appointment as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
Maunsell received his BS in zoology from Duke University and his PhD in biology from the California Institute of Technology, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.