Nicole Rust

Assistant Professor
BS in Molecular Biology and Chemistry, University of Idaho;
Ph.D. in Neural Science, New York University
Office Location: 
Room 428, Goddard Lab, 3710 Hamilton Walk
Research Interests: 
Behavioral Neuroscience
Computational Modeling
Sensation and Perception
Specific Research Areas: 

Neural basis of object recognition

Research Synopsis: 
Our group is interested in the visual process­ing that happens at the nex­us of visual percep­tion and cog­nition. We are focused on understand­ing the seq­uence of neural events that allows the visual sys­tem to ext­ract informa­tion about the con­tent of the world (i.e. specific ob­jects) from the light patterns encoded by the eye. We are partic­ular­ly interested in the role that mem­ory plays in visual process­ing and ob­ject recog­nition. For example, when you search for a partic­ular face in a crowd, you have to com­pare the mem­ory of the face you are look­ing for with each per­son you see. We are current­ly investigat­ing the neural representa­tions of visual mem­ory and the neural mechan­isms that all­ow you to determ­ine if what you are look­ing "at" is also what you are look­ing "for". To add­ress these quest­ions, we monitor patterns of activ­ity in popula­tions of neur­ons in differ­ent brain areas while sub­jects perform ob­ject recog­nition tasks and use computation­al da­ta analyses to deci­pher the neural code.
Selected Publications: 

Rust NC, Stocker AA (2010) Ambiguity and invariance: two fundamental challenges for visual processing.  Current Opinion in Neurobiology.  20:382-388.

DiCarlo JJ, Zoccolan D, Rust NC (2012) How does the brain solve visual object recognition?  Neuron 73: 415-434.

Pagan M, Urban LS, Wohl MP, Rust NC (2013) Signals in inferotemporal and perirhinal cortex suggest an "untangling" of visual target information.  Nature Neuroscience 16:1132-1139.

Pagan M, Rust NC (2014) Dynamic target match signals in perirhinal cortex can be explained by instantaneous computations that act on dynamic input from inferotemporal cortex.  Journal of Neuroscience 34:11067-11084.

Courses Taught: 
PSYC 217 Visual Neuroscience
PSYC 417 Seminar in Visual Neuroscience

Neuroscience Graduate Group

Marino Pagan [Neuroscience Graduate Student]
Noam Roth [Neuroscience Graduate Student]