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Visually impaired persons 'understand' their environment by stroking their finger tips across the surface of an object to be identified. Object features such as size, shape, surface textures can be extracted by the interaction of the skin and the object's surface. Development of efficient tactile substitution devices depends on further investigations focusing on somatosensory signal processing. My research interest is centered on studying the fine details of the sense of touch and the perception of complex spatio-temporal patterns applied to the skin. The goal of this laboratory is to gain a better understanding of how a touch -- such as a tap, pressure, vibration, or motion -- applied to a specific body part is localized, identified and appreciated. This is accomplished by studying the physiologic properties and morphologic connections of groups of neurons located in the thalamus, cortex or brainstem that respond to tactile stimuli. My experimental protocol utilizes animal models and a multi- disciplinary approach based on neuroanatomical and electrophysiological techniques and a behavioral paradigm. In addition, my interest focuses on the integration of these sensory signals with motor centers and pathways and their role in evoking stereotyped behaviors.
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Jackson, MS 39216
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