Modelling the Visual Cortex with Parvin Zarei

Parvin Zarei, Biomedical Engineering PhD student at the University of Melbourne, is modelling how the visual cortex perceives motion transparency with Bionic Vision Australia.

For her PhD, Parvin is creating a model to understand how the visual cortex, the part of the brain that enables us to see the world around us, interprets motion transparency.

“The visual cortex is made of different layers, and each layer has a different job. But there is little information about the layers of the visual cortex, so this kind of research is important in developing in developing the bionic eye,” said Parvin.

When we travel in a car, we see the reflection of our image in the glass, yet we can also see other cars moving in the street. Even though these different objects are reflected in the same material, the glass of the window, we understand them as moving in different directions. Developing a computer simulation of the brain, based on biological data, Parvin is seeking to discover how the brain helps us to do this.

From this understanding, her research contributes to the development of vision-processing software that will help bionc eye implantees perceive movement.

“I was really interested in how the brain works, and how we can process visual information from the retina. It can change the world of a blind person if we can give sight to them, it is a very rewarding thing to do.”

Listen to her full podcast here.