David Eagleman, Ph.D.


Lab Director

David

I am a neuroscientist with joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. My areas of research include time perception, vision, synesthesia, social neuroscience, and the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system. I direct the Laboratory for Perception and Action, and am the founder and director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law.  I am the founder and Chief Scientific Officer for BrainCheck, a company which uses interactive testing on portable tablets to measure brain function.  BrainCheck is currently being used in schools for rapid concussion assessment at the sidelines. 

I have written some non-fiction books, including Incognito: The Secret Lives of the BrainWednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia, Why the Net Matters, and Cognitive Neuroscience (Oxford University Press, upcoming 2014, co-authored with Jonathan Downar).

Public understanding of science is a passion of mine, and to that end I have written for the New York TimesDiscover Magazine, Atlantic, The WeekSlate, Wired, New Scientist, and others.  I speak often on National Public Radio and BBC to discuss what's new and important in science. I have founded a prize in mathematics and physics.

I am fortunate to be a Guggenheim Fellow. Within the scientific community, I serve as an editor for Journal of VisionPLoS One, and Seminars in Brain and Consciousness.  I also serve on the board of directors for several organizations, including The Long Now Foundation.

My book of fiction, Sum, was lucky enough to become an international bestseller. It has been translated into 27 languages and was named a Best Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble, New Scientist, and the Chicago Tribune. British musician Brian Eno and I performed a musical reading of Sum at the Sydney Opera House, and German composer Max Richter translated Sum into a full opera at the Royal Opera House in London.  

My neuroscience book Incognito became a New York Times bestseller, and was named a Book of the Year by Amazon, Goodreads, Houston Chronicle, and Boston Globe. No one is writing an opera for that one yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Pablo Ormachea

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
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Pablo is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he won its largest student writing prize, served as co-Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Latino Law Review, and co-Chair for the Harvard Latin American Law Society.  He has won several fellowships for international work, both for public service and for research abroad. As a Research Fellow in the Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law, Pablo studies patterns of crime and the efficacy of legislation using large scale database analysis.

 

Publications

McArthur, K., & Ormachea, P. (2007).  International investor-state arbitration: an empirical analysis of ICSID decisions on jurisdiction. The Review of Litigation, 28(3), 559-594.

Ormachea, P. (2008).  An empirical analysis of state ethanol production incentives: do they work?  Texas Review of Litigation, 4(1), 130-144.

Gabe Haarsma

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
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Gabe spearheads the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law’s big data analysis of millions of crime records. He graduated from Texas A&M with a PhD in chemical engineering and a specialization in Process Control. This experience exposed Gabe to his love of data analysis, visualization and mathematical model building. Gabe spends his days coding in the statistical language R to analyze and visualize patterns of crime and recidivism.

 

 

Mingbo Cai

Graduate Student
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Our perception of the duration of an event, and the temporal order between events can be distorted in various situations.  Through these temporal illusions, Mingbo is combining psychophysics, computation modeling and functional imaging to explore the mechanism underlying time perception.

Scott Novich

Graduate Student
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Scott is a Ph.D. student in Rice University's Electrical & Computer Engineering department, working under Dr. Eagleman as his advisor. He received his Masters from the same department, but with a focus on cognitive wireless protocol design. His current research interest is figuring out ways to exploit brain plasticity for developing new ways of sensing information and controlling devices. He also works with apparatus design for the group's timing work, as well as performing analysis of the group's synesthesia database.

 

Ricky Savjani

Graduate Student (MD/PhD)
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Ricky has been forever challenged by the mysteries of neuroscience. As an undergraduate at MIT, he quickly realized the power of computational modeling as a tool in understanding the brain. He wanted to integrate both of these sciences in a unique way and earned dual degrees in Brain and Cognitive Sciences as well as Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Ricky soon became interested in translating these discoveries to people and patients and is currently pursuing an MD/PhD through Texas A&M. At the Eagleman Lab, Ricky wants to help bring the innovating science to the clinic.

Sasha Davenport

Research Fellow
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sasha

Sasha is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar with a BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she won the Leadership and Visionary Award and studied psychological coercion, false confessions and interrogations. As an undergrad, she started an expert witness business specializing in neuropsych assessment and psychopharmacology research for civil and criminal trials. She is currently a graduate student working toward her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at Queens College, and has presented research on neuropsychology and asymmetric warfare at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sasha is a Research Fellow at the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, and is interested in the neural relationship between the empathy, aggression and criminal behavior trajectories.

Anna Jarman

Research Fellow
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Anna joined the Initiative to study how early psychosocial and biological factors contribute to criminal behavior. As an undergraduate at Rice University, she became interested in developmental psychopathology while interning in the Baylor/Menninger Human Neuroimaging Laboratory. Her background includes health policy research for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and three years refining ethical and methodological standards for surgical trials at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute.

Robert Brockman II

Research Assistant
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Robert is a graduate student at Rice University working on his MBA and Masters in Electrical Engineering. His undergraduate degree from Rice was also in Electrical Engineering supplemented with substantial coursework in computer science and cognitive science. His main research interests are machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence. He has many years of experience as an IT professional, especially Linux system administration. On the rare occasions that he is not enmeshed with computers he can be found swing dancing and at acrobatic yoga classes.

Josh Jackson

Lab Programmer
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joshjacksonJosh is a computer guru who has been writing software since he first found a book on the subject in his elementary school library. After spending some time in industry he is returning to academia  in hopes of pursuing the hard problem of consciousness and the question of friendly artificial intelligence.

Seán Judge

Research Coordinator
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SeanSeán is the Lab Manager, bringing organization and sanity to the activities here. Outside the lab, Seán is one of Houston's most sought-after actors. Seán has always been fascinated by the inner workings of the human brain, and thrives as part of an exciting research environment.

Lab alumni

Aidin Ashoori, Medical Student
Elyse Aurbach, Research Assistant
James Barger, Research Assistant
Gregory Bohuslav, U.H. Undergraduate Research Student
Hannah Bosley, Research Assistant
Benjamin Bumann, Research Assistant
Christopher Chen, Undergraduate Summer Student
Christopher Chen, Undergratudate Summer Student
Sherry Cheng, Research Assistant
Jennie Choe, Yale Undergraduate Summer Student
Sara Churchill, Research Assistant
Daniel Dascenco, International Summer Student
Evan Delacruz, Programmer
Matthew Fiesta, Summer Research Medical Student
Shilpa Gandhi, Research Assistant
Josh Hesterman, Rice Undergraduate Summer Student
Mehwish Ismaily, Stanford Undergraduate Student
Arielle Kagan, Harvard Undergraduate Summer Student
Keith Kline, Graduate Student
Greg Brown, Research Assistant
Mike Lara, BCM Medical Student
Francis Lawrence, Research Assistant
Robert LiKamWa, Programmer
Leo Linbeck, Summer student
Kristian Marlow, Research Assistatn
Harsha Mittikani, BCM Medical Student
Lillian Niakan, Yale Undergraduate Summer Student
Vani Pariyadath, Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow
Brent Parsons, Research Assistant
Giovanni Piantoni, Research Assistant
Mark Plitt, Research Assistant
James Ryland, Research Assistant
Deepak Sagaram, MD, Graduate Research Assistant
A. Karthik Sarma, MD, Neurology collaborator
Sarah Schwettman, Research Assistant
Manu Sharma, Clinical Researcher
Jyotpal Singh, Law student, Research Assistant
Thomas Sprague, Research Assistant
Chess Stetson, Graduate Student
Daisy Thompson-Lake, Research Assistant
Josh Tilles, Programmer
Matthew Timberlake, BCM Medical Student
Steffie Tomson, Ph.D
Rejnal Tushe, Rice undergraduate Research Assistant
Don Vaughn, Research Assistant
Helen Vo, Research Assistant
Wilber Wang, Rice undergraduate summer student
Sarah Weinzimmer, Research Assistant