Sunday, June 10, 2007

BNI’s Dr. Stephen Macknik receives funding to keep flickering

Dr. Stephen L. Macknik, Ph.D., is the director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute, in Phoenix, AZ. His research interests are to explain the neural underpinnings of visual and olfactory perception in the brain. His primary interest in sensory processing is to understand how networks of neuronal cells in the brain form circuits that allow us to feel aware of our surroundings. His new project, funded by Science Foundation Arizona through its 2007 Competitive Advantage Awards program (120K), builds on these interests by determining the brain correlates of the perception of flicker fusion in the visual system.

CAA grants are designed to give bridge financing to research projects expected to soon receive monies from a federal funding source. In Dr. Macknik’s case, his project was recommended for funding by the review panel at the National Science Foundation in January, but late funding resolutions from Congress left it unfunded. Dr. Macknik will use the CAA grant to keep his project alive and therefore more competitive for the next round of federal grant reviews.

Dr. Macknik promotes public awareness of his and other scientific discoveries by working with several organizations that bring together scientists and the public. He is a founder of the Neural Correlate Society, which hosts the annual Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest (, which is free and open to the public. He also is co-chair of the next meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, to take place in Las Vegas this June ( This conference will host the first scientific event to bring world famous magicians together with cognitive scientists. Magicians have a deep intuition of how to manipulate attention and awareness. This symposium will provide the scientists with the magicians’ insights into the brain, and will promote the application of magic as an experimental tool in the laboratory.

No comments: