I received a Bachelor's degree in Physics from MIT in 1971, and a Master's degree in Astronomy from Harvard in 1972. In 1976, I obtained my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard.
I next spent a postdoctoral year with Fergus Campbell at the Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge University. In 1977, I joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota where I am now a professor of psychology and neuroscience, and Director of the Minnesota Laboratory for Low-Vision Research.
I was Chair of the Psychology Department from 2006 to 2012, and Director of Graduate Studies from 2013 to 2018. In 2015. I was a founding member of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science (CATSS) where I am currently a scientific co-director.
My research deals with visual perception and cognition. Currently, projects in my lab focus on the roles of vision in reading, object recognition, and spatial navigation. In all of these areas, I have a special interest in the problems encountered by people with low vision.
My lab has been widely recognized for applying the principles and methods of basic visual science to explain the difficulties encountered by people with low vision. One practical outcome of our research is the development of the MNREAD Acuity Chart, designed to assess visual aspects of reading in both normal and low vision.
Other areas of my research have included binocular vision (including stereopsis), contrast coding in the visual system, and tactile acuity in blind and sighted people.
In my research, I've had the good fortune to work with many superb colleagues, postdoctoral fellows, and students. I'm always eager to meet new students with an interest in vision research.
I was a member of the founding editorial board of the Journal of Vision. I served a four-year term on the National Advisory Eye Council. I was a member of a National Research Council committee involved with the redesign of U.S. currency bills. One result of our work is the large-print numerals on the bills which are helpful to people with low vision.
I was born in Toronto. I now live in Minneapolis with my wife Wendy, three cats named Hudson, Rosie, and Lilly, and a sweet chocolate Labrador mix named Hugo. My son Alex is grown up and a psychiatrist living in New York City.
I enjoy running and swimming, genealogy, and creative writing. Have a look at my science fiction novel. Another hobby is recording bird songs and calls.
On summer weekends, my family and I visit our cabin in northwestern Wisconsin where we enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the lake and woods.