Vijay Balasubramanian

Cathy and Marc Lasry Professor of Physics

BS, Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MS, Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ph.D., Theoretical Physics, Princeton University

Dr. Balasubramanian is interested in the principles underlying computation and communication in the brain.  His recent work has established that many aspects of the structural and functional organization of the visual system can be understood as adaptations to the statistical structure of natural scenes subject to biophysical constraints. He has also worked on optimization principles in neurobiology such as maximization of information transmission at fixed metabolic cost, and on problems in statistical inference.   Currently, his lab uses computational and theoretical methods to study how texture and shape are represented in the visual system, and how physical space is represented in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.   His lab is also studying how circuits in the olfactory system adaptively represent information about odor mixtures and their valence.


  • Kamesh Krishnamurthy[Neuroscience]
  • John Briguglio [Physics]
Office Location: 
2N3A David Rittenhouse Labs
Research Interests: 

Cognitive Neuroscience

Memory and Learning

Sensation and Perception

Selected Publications: 

Garrigan, P, Ratliff CP, Klein JM, Sterling P, Brainard D, Balasubramanian V.  2010.  Design of a trichromatic cone array. PLoS Comput. Biol.. 6 Download: PLoS Comp Biol 2010 Garrigan.pdf

Tkacik, G, Prentice J, Victor J, Balasubramanian V.  2010.  Local statistics in natural scenes predict the saliency of synthetic textures. PNAS. 107(42):18149-18154. Download: PNAS-Textures.pdf

Tkacik, G, Prentice JS, Balasubramanian V, Schneidman E.  2010.  Optimal population coding by noisy spiking neurons. PNAS. 107(42):18154. Download: PNAS-OptPopCodes.pdf

Ratliff, CP, Borghuis BG, Kao YH, Sterling P, Balasubramanian V.  2010.  Retina is structured to process an excess of darkness in natural scenes.. PNAS. 107(40):17368-17373. Download: OnOffPNAS.pdf

Perge, JA, Koch K, Miller R, Sterling P, Balasubramanian V.  2009.  How the optic nerve allocates space, energy capacity, and information.. J. Neurosci. 29:7917-7928. Download: Journal of Neuroscience 2009 Perge.pdf

Balasubramanian, V, Sterling P.  2009.  Receptive fields and the functional architecture in the retina. J. Physiol.. 587:2753-2767. Download: The Journal of Physiology 2009 Balasubramanian-1.pdf