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Colleen MarlowAssistant Professor in Physical Sciences
From the left: Logan Foust, Kristen Chauvin, and Dr. Colleen Marlow
Dr. Colleen Marlow, assistant professor of Physical Sciences, is relatively new to RIC. Marlow began teaching at the college in 2012. She has already received her first grant at RIC, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through RI-INBRE for her study: “Computational Analysis and Modeling of Human Eye Movements.” Human eye movement refers to the actual movements the pupils make while scanning a scene. These movements allow the brain to access high quality images from one specific area of the eye while also understanding the peripheral.
Her research is inspired by a project during her post-doctoral studies in which a group of individuals posed the question, “do artists look at scenes in a different way than the rest of us?” Marlow is investigating how “the rest of us,” including artists, scan an image. “My goal is to assess how we acquire information from the visual field,” says Marlow.
This investigation concentrates on how the eyes function when they are freely looking.
“The way your eyes behave when you look out at the ocean and take in the view is very different than when you are looking at the ocean on a whale watch,” explains Dr. Marlow, who is most interested in how the eyes function when we “take in the view.”
In this study, Marlow is using data collected while at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF.) She is also collaborating with Dr. Goldfield of the RIC Infant Lab to acquire data from infants. Both groups’ data was generated from recording the path of movements that a subject’s eyes create while scanning an image designed to mimic nature.
Dr. Marlow is evaluating data with the help of two student research assistants, Kristen Chauvin and Logan Foust. The three are working together to analyze the data using algorithms. They are also contrasting their findings from the UCSF group, which includes adults with neurodegenerative disorders, with data from the Infant Lab. “By comparing this data, I hope to better understand the visual system,” says Marlow.
When asked what initially interested her in the human visual system, Dr. Marlow answered, “I find it amazing how complex the world is yet how simply we navigate it.”