Dennis Levi, Professor

Closed (1) Mechanisms of normal and amblyopic spatial vision

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

Research in my lab focuses on how we perceive visual forms and patterns, and how form and depth perception are degraded by abnormal visual experience early in life (amblyopia). Specifically, we use psychophysics, eye-movements, computational modelling and brain imaging (fMRI) to study the neural mechanisms of normal pattern vision in humans, and to learn how they are degraded by abnormal visual experience (amblyopia), and how they recover.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Jian Ding

Qualifications: There is room in the lab for up to three students with an interest in vision, good computer skills, and excellent eyesight (with correction). Students in the lab serve as both experiments and observers. Students will learn basic psychophysical and brain imaging techniques, and will contribute to all aspects of the experiments (data collection, analysis, etc). Students will be expected to devote at least 10 hours per week (distributed to meet the needs of the project and the students commitments) to the project.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Related website: https://www.levilabberkeley.org/

Closed (2) Research assistant needed to help run virtual reality experiment

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The goal of virtual reality (VR) is to create a rich and immersive environment. How does state-of-the-art VR differ from our natural world, and how do these differences impact our perception and the eye movements we make in VR? These are some of the questions this project is hoping to shed light on.

The primary role will be coordinating with the researcher to help run participants in the experiment. The experiment itself is run virtually over zoom, the primary role of the undergraduate assistant would be to meet participants, check them into the building, and bring them to the lab. Following the completion of the experiment, the undergraduate assistant would sterilize the VR headset using a UV sterilizer. The role is flexible, and if the undergraduate assistant wanted to become more involved in the research, there is an option to help with data analysis and processing as well.

This is a great role for someone looking to get their foot in the door of a research lab. You will get experience with the ethics behind human subject research and how to run participants in an experiment. If you are interested there is also an option to get more involved with data analysis and understanding how data is collected and processed in VR research.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Avi Aizenman, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: We are looking for a student that is interested in virtual reality and hopes to gain experience in research. Good communication skills and a courteous attitude are required. The student should also be motivated and dependable. If you are excited by real-world applications of virtual reality and want to get the experience of what research is like, this is a great project for you to get involved with!

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Related website: https://www.levilabberkeley.org/

Closed (3) Role of eye movements in amblyopic spatial vision

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Amblyopia is a neuro-developmental abnormality associated with deficits in a broad range of neural, biological, oculomotor, and perceptual functions, in addition to clinical abnormalities that occur when visual development is disrupted in early life during the critical period. Even today, amblyopia remains the most frequent cause of vision loss in infants and young children with a prevalence of 2-4% in the U.S.

The goal of this project is to investigate and identify the role of eye movements (i.e., fixational eye movements) in limiting amblyopic spatial visual processing. Results from this project will build a fundamental understanding of how abnormal oculomotor behavior in fixational eye movements are limiting amblyopic spatial vision in various psychophysical paradigms.


The primary role will be coordinating with the research supervisor to help run participants in the experiment and recruit patients. The research assistant will learn how to use the high resolution head-mounted EyeLink Eye Tracker. If the assistant desires to be more involved with the research project, there are the options of data analyses, coding/designing new experiments, literature search, and implementation of new techniques and concepts that will contribute to the current and the future clinical research in patients with visual deficits. Dr. Sunwoo Kwon will supervise the assistants throughout the project.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Sunwoo Kwon, Post-Doc

Qualifications: Interest in vision, commitment, and high motivation are required. Good communication skills and courteous attitude are required. The assistants must be dependable, responsible, and be able to work independently when it is required. Assistants are expected to devote about 8-10 hours per week for the project (hours can be negotiated if needed). Flexibility with hours and ability to be present at the lab in the evenings and occasional weekends are a plus. Depending on the levels of involvement of the project, programming in MATLAB and Python are highly desirable but not necessary. Prior knowledge of neural networks, machine learning, computational models, and statistics are of high interest but not necessary.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Related website: https://www.levilabberkeley.org/

Closed (4) Recovery of 3D-depth perception for patients with degraded vision (amblyopia)

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

Most people with degraded vision (amblyopia) lack 3D-depth vision (stereoblindness). Using a simple training, the depth perceptual sense can be recovered and some people can experience depth in 3D movie theatres for the first time. The goal of the project is to test this phenomenon extensively and investigate what are the changes happening in the brain. For that project, we are using psychophysics, eye-tracking, and fMRI scanning.



There are various roles that the undergraduate can negociate. The primary task is to help out in recruiting patients, administer the 3D-recovery training and the assessments (including simple clinical tests). Depending on the student, many additional specific tasks could be carried out, including data analysis and literature search. The undergraduate could also learn how to operate the MRI scanner and get experience in MRI data collecting. Students with lack of 3D-depth perception could be trained for recovery. There is also an option for programming, designing or running a new experiment. Students could learn basic psychophysical and brain imaging techniques, and contribute to all aspects of the experiments.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Jian Ding, Post-Doc

Qualifications: Interest in vision, commitment and high motivation are required. Students are expected to devote at least 10 hours per week to the project. Flexibility with hours and ability to be here in the evenings and occasional weekends is a plus. Depending on the specific tasks, programming in Matlab can be desirable but not necessary. Amblyopia or lack of 3D-depth perception is no problem for helping on the project.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: https://www.levilabberkeley.org/